Duke Energy crews are in the New Bern area to repair infrastructure that was damaged in December causing a widespread power outage.
A Duke Energy contractor was performing vegetation management services on Dec. 19 when a transmission line was severed leaving City of New Bern customers without power for about seven hours. A temporary fix restored power until permanent repairs could be made.
Duke Energy started making permanent repairs to the system on Monday The work is scheduled to be complete on by the end of February.
City of New Bern electric customers are not expected to experience any power outages or fluctuations in service during this time. If you do, contact Utility Control at 252-636-4070.
Utility Control is staffed 24 hours a day and allows the city to dispatch crews immediately in the event of a power outage.
When power is restored, reduce your consumption and save on reheating costs by adjusting your thermostat two degrees above the current temperature inside your home.
Once your thermostat reaches that temperature, continue increasing it by two degree increments until you reach your desired setting.
This will keep the heat strips from coming on. For example, if your thermostat says 62 degrees when the power comes back on, increase it to 64 degrees. When the temperature inside your home reaches 64 degrees, increase the thermostat to 66 degrees … and so on until you get back to your desired setting.
Update: According to Alderman Sabrina Bengel, “Getting ready to come hot with the repaired line but we may still have to work through some issues as a result of this outage.
“Main reason is it is cold … because of that people’s water heaters and heat strips tend to kick on once power is restored so we have to slowly energize feeders.
“Thank you for your patience.
“Also please note that there was a rumor on facebook that the power outage was due to a substation exploding and would be days to repair… this is NOT TRUE.
“Thankful for our City workers out there.”
Update: City efforts to reroute power form another substation have failed.
“When our crews added lines and customers’ power came back on, the power draw was too much and breakers began flipping,” the city said on its Facebook page. “We are removing those rerouted lines and are working to restore power where we can.”
Update: Officials are saying it may be 9 p.m. before power is restored. The New Bern Police Department is urging drivers to stay home. Once it gets dark, it is difficult for drivers to see police directing traffic at intersections.
If you need to run your car to recharge your mobile device, and if you are doing so by letting your vehicle idle at home, make sure it is not inside a closed garage to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
An issue with Duke Energy is causing a power outage affecting more than 17,000 households in the New Bern area on Wednesday afternoon, with restoration expected in a couple of hours.
Duke Energy’s outage map online is showing just a handful of customers without power, but the city’s outage map is showing 17,633 customers without power as of 3:18 p.m.
WITN reported that Duke Energy had a vegetation crew they hired doing work along a transmission line when it was damaged.
Power went out between 2 and 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, and at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the city acknowledged the problem on its Facebook wall.
“We are aware of it and are working to identify the issue,” the city said. “Estimated restoration is 2-4 hours.”
Almost an hour later, the city updated its posting.
“We have just confirmed this is a Duke Energy issue. The city purchases power from Duke and there. Are transmission issues within that service. Estimated outage is still 2-4 hours at this point.”
A short time later, the city posted this: “We are told Duke has deployed resources to repair and restore services as soon as possible.”
The outage did not occur all at once, but instead spread throughout the city in stages.
Law enforcement rushed to important intersections to direct traffic, while at other intersections, motorists were left to remember their Driver Training lessons, some more successfully than others.
Craven County Schools sent out a telephone alert notifying parents that their children may be home later than usual due to traffic issues caused by the outage.
Area agencies and businesses shut down early, including Craven County Government and the Twin Rivers YMCA.
Shortly after 4 p.m., City Manager Mark Stephens issued this statement: “The city is looking at options to potentially reroute. Some power supply to bring some customers back into service, but this will also take some time to complete.”
This would not be 100 percent restoration, but could support some city customers, the statement said. Using that measure, the city was able to restore power to the James City area.
CarolinaEast Medical Center switched to its generators as soon as the power went out and was fully operational, the hospital said on its Twitter feed.