Duke Energy is estimating 1-3 million customers will be without power. That's 25-75 percent of the homes and businesses served across the two states.
That projection is based on the impact of previous storms, weather patterns and current forecasts for the massive storm.
The company said workers are prepared to restore power as quickly as possible, but residents should also be prepared for weeks without electricity. "This is no ordinary storm. People could be without power for a very long time, not days, weeks," said David Fountain, Duke Energy North Carolina President.
If the power does go out, lingering rain and wind could make it difficult to complete damage assessments and restoration.
Duke Energy's Storm Director Howard Fowler said flooding will likely delay service restoration to some areas. "In the aftermath of most storms you'll find power lines and equipment on the ground, with this storm a lot of this equipment will be underwater or in severely flooded areas," Fowler said.
Right now 20,000 employees are ready to deploy in the days following Hurricane Florence. That number includes 8,000 Carolina-based workers, 1700 employees from Duke Energy offices in the Midwest, 1200 Duke Energy employees from Florida and 9400 workers from other companies.
"Duke Energy is primed and ready to respond once it is safe to do so. We will not rest until power is restored to everyone," Fountain said.
Here are three quick ways for customers to report outages and get the most up-to-date restoration information:
Text: OUT to 57801
Call: Duke Energy Carolinas - 800-769-3766
Duke Energy Progress: 800-419-6356