Duke Energy prepared as winter storm moves through Indiana

PLAINFIELD, Ind. – Duke Energy said predicted heavy snow and freezing rain from today’s winter storm are likely to cause widespread power outages throughout Indiana.

In advance of the storm, Duke Energy staged nearly 1,500 workers – power line technicians, damage assessors and vegetation workers – across its service area.

Those workers include Duke Energy crews normally based in North Carolina and South Carolina who traveled to Indiana to assist locally based crews.

“We brought in extra crews before the storm to ensure we had ample resources to restore our customers’ power as quickly as possible,” said Kevin Morgan, Duke Energy’s general manager for emergency preparedness. “These crews more than doubled the number of workers we normally have available. Our teams are ready to restore power as soon as weather conditions safely allow.”

The storm’s severity and hazardous road conditions could delay crews’ ability to begin power restoration in the hardest-hit areas, extending the duration of power outages for some customers.

Heavy, wet snow of six inches or more can cause trees and branches to fall on power lines, as can ice-buildup due to freezing rain – both resulting in power outages.

Duke Energy urged customers to make alternative housing arrangements in case they lose power during what is predicted to be a multi-day period of extremely cold temperatures. Households that have elderly residents or individuals with special medical needs are especially urged to make such arrangements.

Power restoration process

Following the storm, as conditions allow, damage assessment crews will assess the extent of damage – which can sometimes take several hours after major storms that cause widespread damage and dangerous driving conditions.

Damage assessments determine the types of crews, equipment and supplies needed to restore power in specific areas.

Simultaneously, other crews will begin repairs in certain areas, as conditions allow.

Some customers might experience more than one power outage, depending on the storm’s severity and the power restoration process in specific, heavily impacted areas.

Duke Energy will provide estimated power restoration times as soon as those times are determined.

The company also will provide regular updates to customers and communities through emails, text messages, outbound phone calls, social media and its website, which includes power outage maps.

Duke Energy serves 860,000 customers in Indiana.

How to report power outages

Customers can report power outages by texting “OUT” to 57801 or by calling 800.343.3525.

Customers also can report outages online at duke-energy.com/outages or through the Duke Energy mobile app.

Sign up for outage alerts

Customers can receive the most up-to-date information about power restoration efforts by enrolling in Outage Alerts.

Winter storm safety reminders

  • 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 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.

More tips on what to do before, during and after a storm can be found at duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/storm-safety. A checklist serves as a helpful guide, but it’s critical – before, during and after a storm – to follow the instructions and warnings of emergency management officials in your area.

Avoid customer scams

Customers should be alert to scammers who might call them – impersonating Duke Energy representatives and threatening to cut off customers’ power before or during the storm unless customers make an immediate payment for late bills or other charges.

Duke Energy never makes such calls.

Below are tips for customers to avoid such scams:

  • If it’s a recorded voice, often referred to as a “robocall,” be extra cautious.
  • Do not provide any personal information.
  • Duke Energy’s actual recorded calls to customers are informative only. The company’s calls never threaten to cut off power and never request personal information.
  • If a caller – recorded or live – specifically asks you to pay using a prepaid debit card, that’s a red flag. Prepaid debit cards are like cash and the transactions cannot be reversed.
  • If the caller pressures you to make an immediate payment of any type – or provide personal information of any kind, such as a bank account number or social security number – hang up the phone.

Duke Energy Indiana

Duke Energy Indiana, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides about 6,600 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 860,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it Indiana’s largest electric supplier.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,500 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50% carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to own or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2021 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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