Duke Energy’s Aviation team helps linemen speed up restoring power to eastern North Carolina


CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) — This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“This has been an incredible challenging storm for restorations for our crews,” Duke Energy Spokesperson Jeff Brooks said.

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On the ground, it’s hard to see how extensive the damage is but from the air, the images speak for themselves. 

Duke Energy flew FOX 46 Charlotte over Lumberton where several homes are still under water and even part of I-95 closed due to damage.

“The last week for us from the storm restoration from Hurricane Matthew consisted of a lot of patrols aerial wise. Looking for any kind of damage to our system. A lot of that was from vegetation that had fallen on the lines itself,” Utility Helicopter Pilot Leeth Davis said.

Duke energy aviation team has been instrumental in helping ground crews get to locations they can’t reach from the ground.

“Once we get up and fly with our transmission experts and our linemen as well as the foresters, they know what they are looking for. Once they find what they don’t like, they can dispatch ground crews accordingly to get that taken care of,” Davis said.

Ground crews then have the tough job of finding those downed power lines, sometimes going into very unfavorable areas. We followed them to a swampy area full of meddling gnats.

“We’ve restored power to more than a million customers but if you are one of the customers that doesn’t have power, that doesn’t matter. So we are focused on each individual customer and want to get everyone’s power restored,” Brooks said.

A lot of the issues duke energy faces is that the floodwaters still haven’t receded so they can’t get through to fix any down power lines in the area.

“It’s really frustrating when our crews want to get the lights on. They are very committed to doing that. We have thousands of crews in the area trying to restore power but they can’t simply get to the outages. So it’s really frustrating,” Brooks said.

Duke Energy tells FOX 46 Charlotte it could be a few more weeks until they can come in to fix sub-stations and power lines and safely restore power to everyone.

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