Duke Energy prepares for power outages across the state

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Power crews are preparing for the snow and ice about to hit the Triangle (WTVD)

Duke Energy is calling on outside resources to help manage the power outages expected to follow inclement weather Friday.

The company has called in over 1,300 outside power crews from Florida to help restore power throughout the state as 58 counties prepare to battle icy conditions.

Of that group, around 200 trucks and 300 workers will join Duke Energy at their emergency staging area in Garner. They plan to tackle outages as far west as Burlington.

Jeff Brooks, a spokesperson for Duke Energy, said ice gets exponentially heavier as is accumulates.

Brooks said a quarter-inch of ice is enough to bring down tree limbs, which could bring down power lines. He said a half-inch of ice is enough to bring down the lines themselves.

"This is a scenario where you could see your power out for more than a day." Brook explained. "The last storms last year we saw two and three day outages for some of our customers, so you need to take steps now to prepare for what would happen if you lost power. It could mean anything from making sure your cellphone is charged, to making sure you have an alternate place to go if you rely on electricity for health reasons or just for comfort reasons."

Brooks said people should also expect possible outages on Saturday, as well if winds pick up and ice has built up on power lines and trees.

He also cautions folks to stay off the roads. On top of the threat of injury, Brooks said, car accidents can also cause power loss if someone loses control on an icy patch and hits a power pole.

Duke said there are things you can do to help the company restore power if the winter weather leaves you in the dark.

"If your power does go out, be sure to turn off your appliances so that when the power comes back on don't have that immediate surge of everyone drawing on the grid all at once." Brook said. "That can help us a great deal."

He also asks people to have patience.

"We have not forgotten about you if you see us come and go; we're actually assessing damage to determine where best to begin our operations," Brooks said. "Maybe restoring the power to the line outside your house won't make a difference if the substation or transmission line upstream has been taken out as well, so there's a step process that we have to do beginning with our transmission lines, and are critical infrastructure like hospitals, police stations, fire stations, and then we work to restore the largest number of customers that we can with each restoration."

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