§ Duke Energy continues to monitor and prepare for a winter storm that has the potential to cause power outages across the company’s Northern Kentucky and southwest Ohio service regions.
§ While a typical snow storm has little to no impact on the electric system, this winter storm could be different due to a forecasted combination of snow, sleet, rain, freezing rain, cold temperatures and high winds.
§ These factors could bring down trees, limbs and power lines, as well as create hazardous driving conditions, which could delay and/or 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.
Safety awareness and reminders
§ Along with a mix of snow, sleet, rain and freezing rain, this winter storm is forecasted to bring unseasonably cold, single-digit temperatures to the region. Forecasters believe increased wind speeds – including potential wind gusts of up to 35 or 40 mph – will cause dangerous, subzero wind chill factors and near-blizzard conditions.
§ With arctic cold temperatures and a wintery mix on the horizon, Duke Energy urges customers to make plans now 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 some 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 Kentucky and Ohio, 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 (CO). The following are symptoms of CO poisoning:
□ Flu-like symptoms
□ Ringing sensation in the ears
□ Blurred vision
□ Chest pains
□ Light-headedness or dizziness
• If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, open doors and windows, leave your home / business and consult a physician.
§ 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 at 800.543.5599.
• Report an outage or view current outages by visiting duke-energy.com/outages.
§ Duke Energy will also provide updates on its social media channels to keep customers informed if significant outages occur:
• Duke Energy on Twitter: twitter.com/DukeEnergy
• Duke Energy on Facebook: facebook.com/DukeEnergy
§ The company does not believe this winter storm will impact its natural gas operations. However, Duke Energy natural gas customers in Kentucky and Ohio can always call 800.634.4300 to report natural gas outages or other issues. Any customer who suspects a gas leak should always evacuate the area before calling.
Customers can help prevent consecutive power outages
§ Immediately after power is restored to an area or neighborhood, the local electric grid experiences extremely heavy demand for power, which can overload a circuit. When this happens, a fuse or circuit breaker automatically “trips” at the local Duke Energy substation, causing a new power outage.
§ This circumstance, which is called cold load pickup, happens by design and is meant to prevent damage to our equipment – similar to how fuses and circuit breakers work in homes and businesses.
§ Customers experiencing an outage can help prevent repeated interruptions caused by cold load pickup by switching off as many lights, electronics and appliances – including heating systems – as possible. Doing so will reduce the likelihood of circuit overloads when power is restored, especially during cold weather conditions.
Additional information and resources
§ Online outage map: duke-energy.com/outages/current-outages
§ Outage alerts via text, phone or email: duke-energy.com/outages/alerts
§ How Duke Energy restores power: duke-energy.com/outages/restoring-your-power
§ Meter and service connection damage: duke-energy.com/outages/meter-damage
§ Storm safety: duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/storm-safety
§ Safety around power lines: duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/overhead-power-lines
§ Electric generator safety: duke-energy.com/outages/generators
§ Electrical safety: duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/electric-safety
§ Identifying a Duke Energy employee: duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/identifying-de-employee