CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Duke Energy crews have restored power to nearly 70 percent of the company's more than 500,000 North Carolina and South Carolina customers who lost electricity at the height of Tropical Storm Zeta on Thursday.

Nearly 6,500 workers continue restoration work in multiple counties in both states where the storm caused extensive damage to utility poles, power lines and other equipment on Duke Energy's electrical system.

Repair work is expected to continue through the weekend.

Duke Energy crews based in the Carolinas, the Midwest and Florida are involved in the power restoration effort, as well as crews from other utility companies in the Southeast and Northeast.

As of 4:30 p.m. ET today, 165,000 customers – 109,000 in North Carolina and 56,000 in South Carolina – remained without power.

Duke Energy is providing storm information – including estimated power restoration times for specific counties, if those estimates have been determined – at:

Customers who are registered for Duke Energy text alerts will receive a text once an estimated restoration time is established for their location. (Sign up to receive outage alerts.)

In addition to making repairs, Duke Energy crews continue to survey the extent of damage in some of the hardest hit areas. Damage assessment is an important part of the power restoration process as it helps determine how the company can most efficiently deploy its workers, equipment and other resources.

"I want to again thank our customers for their patience as our crews work to safely restore power as quickly as possible," said Jason Hollifield, Duke Energy's Carolinas incident commander. "We were fully prepared for this storm as it was originally forecasted, however Mother Nature ended up packing a more powerful punch than anticipated, resulting in more significant damage and a larger number of power outages."

Hardest hit counties

North Carolina's hardest hit counties included: Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Graham, Guilford, Henderson, Iredell, Lincoln, Macon, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Polk, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stokes, Swain, Transylvania, Vance and Yadkin.

South Carolina's hardest hit counties included: Anderson, Cherokee, Chesterfield, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and York.

Power restoration process

Duke Energy focuses on safely restoring power in a sequence that enables power restoration to public health and safety facilities, and to the greatest number of customers, as quickly as possible. Click here for information on how Duke Energy restores power.

Stay away from fallen power lines

The company reminds the public to stay away from fallen or damaged power lines – as they might still be energized and dangerous. Citizens should report downed power lines to Duke Energy immediately. Click here for a video demonstration and to read more about safety around power lines.

How to report power outages

Customers who experience a power outage can report using any of the following methods:

  • Visit on a desktop computer or mobile device.
  • Use the Duke Energy mobile app (download the Duke Energy App on your smartphone via Apple Store or Google Play).
  • Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply).
  • Call Duke Energy's automated outage-reporting system:
    • Duke Energy Carolinas: 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766)
    • Duke Energy Progress: 800.419.6356

How to protect refrigerated food during power outages

For customers who lose power and have full refrigerators and freezers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the following:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
  • A refrigerator can keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened. If the power will be out for more than four hours, use coolers to keep refrigerated food cold.
  • A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

The FDA offers additional tips for proper food handling and storage before, during and after a power outage at

Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 29,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities and 2,300 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

24-Hour: 800.559.3853

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SOURCE Duke Energy