Progress Energy Carolinas Preparing for Possible Effects of Hanna
RALEIGH, N.C., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — As Tropical Storm Hanna churns in the southern Bahamas, Progress Energy Carolinas officials are monitoring the potential path of the storm and implementing early phases of the company’s comprehensive storm plan. The company encourages customers to review their own safety plans as well.
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As of Tuesday morning, Hanna has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, but is expected to regain strength and begin a slow move to the northwest. The current forecast calls for landfall Friday as a category 1 or 2 hurricane between Savannah, Ga., and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Either track would result in strong winds and heavy rain in Progress Energy Carolinas’ service area.
“It’s been a while since our service area has experienced a major storm, so we encourage customers to take advantage of this time to prepare their own storm plans,” said Hershell McCarty, Progress Energy Carolinas storm coordinator. “Having a plan in place and knowing what to do when bad weather comes are critical to ensuring the safety of families and property.”
Meanwhile, utilities affected by Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana have requested restoration assistance from Progress Energy and other utilities throughout the Southeast; however, Progress Energy will not send any company or local contract line and tree crews to other areas until Hanna has passed and its effects in the Carolinas are known.
The company’s storm plan includes mobilizing employees to handle increased customer calls, to quickly evaluate storm damage, to coordinate line crew and equipment mobilization, to coordinate materials required for repairs, and to arrange meals and lodging for out-of-town workers.
Customers and media can find outage information on Progress Energy’s Web site 24 hours a day at http://www.progress-energy.com/outagemap. During major events such as storms, the map will be updated several times a day.
The quickest way to report an outage during a storm is to call the automated outage-reporting system at 1-800-419-6356. For the latest information, visit Progress Energy’s storm site online at http://www.progress-energy.com/storm.
Progress Energy offers the following storm safety tips: When a storm threatens:
— Check supplies and make sure you have the following items: portable radio with fresh batteries, flashlight, candles or lamps, matches, first aid kit, canned or packaged food that can be prepared without cooking or refrigeration, several days’ supply of drinking water (one quart per person, per day), a full tank of gas in your car and cash.
— Unplug major non-vital appliances. Advanced surge-protection systems will protect your home from most power surges, but will not prevent damage from a direct lightning strike.
— Pay attention to local television and radio broadcasts for storm position, intensity and expected landfall.
— Prepare for high winds by boarding up or taping windows and other glass, anchoring objects outside and bracing garage door.
— Secure boats and trailers located near homes and check mooring lines of boats in the water.
— Put important papers in watertight containers (take them if you evacuate) and move valuables to upper stories of your home.
— Fill your bathtub with water for sanitary purposes. Because water conducts electricity, it is not safe to run water during a storm.
— If you know someone who relies on electric-powered life-support equipment, be prepared to move that person to a facility outside of the storm’s projected path to avoid the risk of an extended power outage.
When a storm hits:
— Stay indoors in an inside room away from doors and windows, electrical outlets and water pipes. Don’t go out in the brief calm during the eye of the storm.
— Keep television and radio tuned for information from official sources. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
— If you evacuate, shut off gas, water and electricity. Electricity can be shut off at the breaker box. Take blankets, first aid supplies and other essential items to the nearest shelter.
After a storm has passed:
— Never go near downed power lines. Always assume they are energized and extremely dangerous. If someone suffers an electric shock from coming in contact with a power line, call 911 or your local rescue squad immediately. Even minor shocks may cause serious health problems later.
— Check for electrical damage inside your home, such as frayed wires, sparks or the smell of burning insulation. If you find damage, don’t turn your power on until an electrician inspects your system and makes necessary repairs.
— Walk or drive cautiously. Watch out for debris-filled streets and weakened bridges. Snakes and insects can be a problem.
— Use your emergency water supply or boil water before drinking it until local officials deem the water supply safe. Report broken sewer or water mains.
— Make temporary repairs to protect property from further damage or looting. Beware of unscrupulous contractors.
If the power goes out:
— Call Progress Energy Carolinas at (800) 419-6356 to report power outages. Our automated system is capable of handling more than 120,000 calls per hour. Entering your phone number or Progress Energy account number in the system ensures that we know about your outage and will capture that information in our restoration plans. Once restoration time estimates are developed, those estimates will also be available to you through the automated system.
— Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Food usually stays frozen about 48 hours. A refrigerator can keep food cold for about four hours. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.
— Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s electrical system. It is dangerous to you, your neighbors and utility workers. Follow manufacturer’s directions regarding connecting appliances directly to your generator.
— In any power outage, utility crews restore service as quickly as possible, starting with the largest lines and facilities serving the most people.
Progress Energy, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 250 energy company with more than 21,000 megawatts of generation capacity and $9 billion in annual revenues. The company will observe a century of operation in 2008. Progress Energy includes two major utilities that serve 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. Progress Energy is the 2006 recipient of the Edison Electric Institute’s Edison Award, the industry’s highest honor, in recognition of its operational excellence. The company also is the first utility to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Founder’s Award for customer service. Progress Energy serves two fast-growing areas of the country, and the company is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.progress-energy.com/.
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Progress Energy Carolinas
CONTACT: Corporate Communications 24-Hour Media Line, +1-877-641-NEWS(6397)
Web site: http://www.progress-energy.com/