NC Electric Co-ops Cut Irene-Related Outages to 42,000

Raleigh, N.C. – North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are reporting that the lights are back on for 110,000 members who lost power as a result of Hurricane Irene. About 42,000 co-op members were still in the dark Monday evening – a significant decrease from the peak of 152,000 outages on Saturday.

Continued progress is expected as crews access the hardest-hit areas of the state, but co-op officials say it’s impossible to predict when power will be restored for all members. Severe damage to transportation and communication lines on the coast and in the northeastern portion of the state are hindering repair efforts.

Cooperative crews are focused on restoring power safely and efficiently to the greatest number of members in the shortest amount of time possible. Repairs generally begin with transmission lines and substations, which deliver power to thousands of households and businesses. From there, linemen move on to supply lines serving entire towns or housing developments, and then they zero in on issues affecting individual houses or buildings.

Outages that last for an extended period of time can place a heavy burden on the system at the moment power is restored. To prevent an overload of the system and possibly another outage, turn off every inside light except one, turn up your thermostat and turn of all unnecessary appliances. When your power comes back on, slowly switch your appliances and lights back on, and return your thermostat to its normal setting.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties, primarily in rural parts of the state.