Electric crews have continued working around the clock to restore power to those remaining in the dark from Hurricane Florence.
Five days after restoration efforts began, more than 10,000 Sampson County residents were still without power. Those numbers drastically dropped after linemen were able to work in improved weather conditions Monday.
As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, there were 9,905 power outages reported in Sampson. Duke Energy is reporting 7,353; Four County is reporting 2,244 and South River is reporting 308.
According to Catherine O’Dell, vice president of member services and public relations, the majority of areas that need to be restored are in Cumberland and Sampson counties. There’s still significant pockets of areas without electricity due to fallen trees and power lines and flooding.
“Now that all substations are energized, we plan to blanket the areas where we have members without power and restore service in all areas where it is possible,” O’Dell said. “We are confident that the outages numbers will diminish rapidly today. Our biggest hurdle now is the flooding and subsequent road closures throughout the hardest-hit areas.”
Duke Energy representatives said the company’s outages impacted both North Carolina and South Carolina residents, with crews having already restored power to 1.2 million customers of the 1.5 million customers who experienced an outage during the storm.
“We’re doing everything we can to safely restore power to every customer as quickly as conditions allow,” Duke Energy incident commander Howard Fowler said. “We won’t rest until the job is done.
Like other power companies, Duke Energy is facing inaccessible areas that have experienced flooding, multiple road closures and significant structural damage from the storms rains and winds.
South River EMC’s restoration team is nearly 300, while Duke Energy has approximately 20,000 personnel working around the state.
“We are so grateful to have the commitment of our employees and visit crews as well as the support of our members who know we are doing our absolute best,” O’Dell said.
Monday night a large group of volunteers from Wesley Chapel, Lee’s Chapel and Robert’s Grove churches visited the SRMC’s Dunn office to assist with after dinner clean up and prepare sandwiches for lunches.
Because of the cresting of the Little River and the Cape Fear River, South River EMC’s Fayetteville office is closed due to transportation challenges.
While the power is out, people are encouraged to turn off their air conditioners, all appliances and all lights except one. This will help make the transition easier once the electricity is restored. If people have too many electric items on when the power is restored, the circuits can be overloaded causing additional outages.
According to officials with Four County, crews headed out in full force early Tuesday morning to make outage restoration progress despite challenging conditions. In areas where restoration points are inaccessible due to flooding or damaged roadways, or where damage to power poles and power lines is severe, the restoration effort may last several more days.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.