Understanding how we respond to outages
Severe weather can cause extensive damage and result in widespread power outages. Duke Energy’s restoration process focuses on a method that will return power to the greatest number of customers as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible. Emphasis is placed on vital public health and safety facilities such as hospitals, law enforcement, fire departments, water treatment facilities and pumping stations. Efforts to restore power to these facilities are clearly essential to protect the health and safety of the public.
Duke Energy prepares well in advance when severe weather threatens our area. Our meteorologists track the path of the storm to identify parts of our service area that may be affected. This allows Duke Energy to coordinate crews who can travel to other states as soon as possible to assist with restoration efforts. We also determine whether additional assistance is needed from contractors or from neighboring utility crews.
Safety of the public as well as those working on the lines is our top priority. The first step to accomplishing this goal is to locate downed power lines and make sure electricity is no longer flowing through the wires. You should always assume that downed power lines are energized and dangerous. Consider any object touching lines energized as well. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy or local emergency authorities.
Our typical restoration process follows this sequence:
- Transmission lines supply electricity to large numbers of customers and to large geographic areas. These lines deliver electricity from the power plants to the substations.
- Substation equipment adjusts the transmission line voltage to lower levels that are appropriate for our main distribution lines.
- Main distribution lines, also known as primary lines, deliver electricity to large subdivisions and commercial areas.
- Local distribution lines, installed either overhead or underground, deliver electricity to smaller neighborhoods and businesses. These secondary lines are also known as “tap” lines.
- Distribution transformers and service lines deliver electricity to your individual home or business either overhead or underground.
If your neighbor's power is on but yours is not
Sometimes, you may see a neighbor's lights come back on while you are still without power. There can be several explanations. Perhaps not all circuits are restored at the same time – different parts of your neighborhood may be served by different circuits. Or a restored customer’s service comes directly from a primary line, which is restored first, while your service may be served off a secondary line. There may also be a problem with your individual service line or your meter.