On Wednesday night, Feb. 17, a new ice storm was making its way across the state and Duke Energy officials were preparing for the worst.  

The company warned that hazardous winter precipitation and high winds from the approaching winter storm could cause up to 1 million power outages in the state and also warned that customers should be prepared because some of those outages could last for several days.

At midnight on Wednesday night, there were only about 1,600 outages across North Carolina, but everyone knew that was the calm before the storm. The company was bringing in workers from other states and other companies to assist with the repairs.

“Duke Energy has thousands of employees supporting the company’s response, including 5,400 line technicians and vegetation workers,” a company press release stated on Wednesday.  “More than 1,300 of those workers are from the company’s Midwest and Florida service areas and from other companies providing assistance.”

Duke Energy has its own meteorologists and the press release stated that they are continuing to monitor weather conditions and make plans accordingly.

 In the meantime, line technicians, service crews and other employees were “checking equipment, supplies and inventories to ensure workers have adequate materials to make repairs and restore power outages.”

According to the press release, Duke Energy has conducted aerial inspections of its transmission lines in the state and found “no immediate threats.” It also stated that the company has an adequate supply of electricity to meet energy demands – and therefore no outages related to power generation are expected.

Now, about those power outages from downed power lines…

“Damage assessments occur while other workers simultaneously restore power in some areas,” the release stated.  “Estimated times of restoration will be provided when damage assessments are completed.”

Since temperatures are expected to be below freezing on both Friday and Saturday nights, Duke Energy is instructing people to prepare to move in with friends or family members if outages are extended.

The company is also reminding people to check in on the elderly during the storm.

“When checking on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations, local orders and restrictions, and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others,” the company advises.