Raleigh, N.C. – Approximately 151,000 members of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are without power due to the storm effects of Hurricane Irene. The largest numbers of outages have occurred in the southeastern part of the state and along the barrier islands. As the storm continues to move up the coast, the affected areas will change as the more southern co-ops begin to restore power and the northern coastal counties begin to experience more storm-related outages.
More than 250 linemen and supervisors from unaffected cooperatives in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia will assist local cooperative crews with restoration efforts as soon as weather permits. Primary lines, which serve hundreds of customers, are restored first. Then secondary lines, which serve fewer customers, will be re-energized. Lines that serve medical facilities and individuals on life-support systems are given priority.
The state’s electric cooperatives serve the vast majority of non-urban residents in the state, many of whom are located in the path of Hurricane Irene. Because of the remote location and tough terrain, some of the most difficult recovery operations will be handled by electric cooperatives.
The cooperatives remind members experiencing severe weather to stay inside a building and away from the windows until dangerous conditions have passed. Listen to local radio stations for news about power outages and changing weather conditions. Avoid using candles if possible, but if you must, never leave a burning candle unattended.
Members who lose power should call their local cooperative to report outages. The outage reporting phone numbers for the state’s 26 electric cooperatives and comprehensive storm and electric safety information can be found at www.ncelectriccooperatives.com.
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.