Duke Energy preparing for major winter storm in Indiana; urges customers to do same
Like many Midwesterners, Duke Energy continues to monitor and prepare for a major winter storm that has the potential to cause power outages across the company's 69-county Indiana service area.
"This storm will be different compared to the system that blanketed the Midwest with snow last weekend," Duke Energy meteorologist Curt Grimoskas said. "This one is distinctive because it has the potential to bring a combination of snow, sleet, rain, freezing rain, very gusty winds and cold temperatures."
Snow on its own typically has little to no impact on the electric system. However, heavy wet snow accumulation, freezing rain and high winds can bring down trees, limbs and power lines. These types of winter storms can also create hazardous driving conditions, which could delay and impede Duke Energy workers' abilities to assess storm damage and restore power.
Ahead of this weekend's storm, Duke Energy line technicians and other workers continue to inspect equipment, check supplies and restock inventories to ensure adequate materials are available to make repairs and restore power outages. In addition, Duke Energy meteorologists are continually tracking the storm's path and intensity, and updating forecast models, which influence how the company mobilizes its workers and other resources.
Duke Energy has more than 500 line technicians, service crews and other storm personnel available across the company's Indiana service region to respond to power outages once conditions are safe. Depending on the impact of the storm, Duke Energy can bring in additional workers from its Southeast utilities and/or activate mutual aid agreements to enlist help from other utilities across the U.S.
Ahead of this winter storm, Duke Energy urges customers to make plans to move family members -- especially those with special needs -- to safe, alternative locations in the event of an extended power outage. The company also advises customers to be prepared and stay safe, and to encourage their family members, friends and neighbors to do the same.
Here are ways customers can be prepared and stay safe before, during and after a storm:
* Ensure an adequate supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc., as well as the availability of a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or weather radio.
* Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees or limbs in contact with lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy or local emergency services.
* If a power line falls across a car that you're in, stay in the car. If you must get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
* If you are driving and encounter emergency responders or other roadside work crews, remember to move over. It's the law in Indiana and a good practice for all drivers.
* If you use a generator due to a power outage, follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure safe and proper operation. Operate your generator outside; never operate it inside a building or garage.
* Don't use grills or other outdoor appliances or equipment indoors for space heating or cooking, as these devices may omit carbon monoxide.
Customers who experience outages during the storm have multiple ways to report them:
* Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)
* Call the automated outage-reporting system: Indiana: 800-343-3525
* Report an outage or view current outages by visiting duke-energy.com/outages