OUC, Duke Energy Florida send help to Carolinas for winter storm

Crews to arrive Saturday, utilities companies say

Duke Energy & OUC sending crews north for impending winter storm

NORTH CAROLINA – The nearing of a winter storm expected to slam the Carolinas over the weekend prompted Duke Energy Florida and the Orlando Utilities Commission to deploy crews Saturday morning to help impacted areas rebound, according to news releases.

OUC officials said this marks the first time it has sent personnel to aid a winter storm recovery since 1993, and Duke Energy said it has made arrangements to bring in nearly 600 teammates from its service areas in Florida and the Midwest, as well as about 1,000 workers from other utilities companies.

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“Across the Carolinas, we have power line and tree crews, and other storm personnel, ready to safely respond to power outages this weekend,” Duke Energy Carolinas Storm Director Jason Hollifield said.

Duke Energy officials said 280 crews from Florida will spend the evening in Florence, South Carolina, comprising of linemen, vegetation management crews, damage assessors, support staff and even meteorologists.

The company offered the following winter storm safety advice for Carolinians in a news release:

  • 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.
  • Customers should make alternate shelter arrangements as needed if you will be significantly impacted by a loss of power – especially families who have special medical needs or elderly members.
  • 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.
  • Be aware that snow can cause hazardous driving conditions resulting in traffic accidents and downed power poles resulting in isolated outages. If you are driving and encounter emergency responders or other roadside work crews, remember to MOVE OVER.
  • 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 emit carbon monoxide.
  • 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.
  • Be prepared for an emergency by purchasing an emergency preparedness kit from Red Cross.

The activation of the country’s municipal utility aid network spurred OUC to send a convoy of 11 employees to the city of High Point, North Carolina, the company said. According to OUC, the following team members will join Line Supervisor and convoy leader Spencer Barnes in restoring power to Carolinian communities rocked by the wind and freezing rain:

  • Damon Adkinson, Lead Line Technician
  • Michael Atout, Line Tech I
  • Zachary Brown, Line Tech II
  • Chase Crawford, Line Tech II
  • Salvador Magana, Line Tech III
  • Jason Reynolds, Lead Line Technician
  • Terrance Roberson, Line Tech I
  • Holton Stough, Line Tech II
  • David Swain, Mechanic
  • Charles Wincey, Line Tech II

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.