Hurricane Florence Recap
Fayetteville PWC Update- Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 –5 pm
PWC nears end of storm outage restoration; Remaining outages require customer-specific repairs
PWC has restored all storm related outages that can be completed at this time. As of Friday at 5 pm, 33 customers remain without power because of damage to the customer-owned connection to PWC lines. The homeowners must have these repairs completed by a licensed electrician and have an electrical inspection. PWC will restore service, once the work has passed inspections. The City of Fayetteville will be doing inspections Saturday and Sunday to help with restoration efforts. For those customers whose homes may have been flooded due to the rain or rising rivers, if the water level went above the electrical outlets or to the electric meter box, they will also need an electrical inspection prior to PWC being allowed to restore service.
The first PWC power outages from Hurricane Florence occurred in the early morning hours of Friday, Sept 14. Outages continued to increase throughout the day as high wind speeds were unsafe for PWC bucket trucks to respond. By 7:30 pm on Friday, 24,000 customers were without power. The most outages occurred at the height of the storm between 8-10 pm Friday and by 10:30 pm, over 50,000 customers were out of service.
Wind speeds improved by noon on Saturday, Sept 15 and PWC and Mutual Aid crews were able to begin full response to the restoration. By Saturday evening, nearly 40,000 customers had service restored with approximately 11,000 outages remaining. By Sunday evening, 3,000 more customers had service (8,211 outages remained). Crews were able to restore another 4,000 customers on Monday, leaving 2,500 outages, and only one major area with extensive damage (near FTCC) unrestored. By Tuesday, those services were restored, along with others and outages were reduced to just over 1,100. PWC was able to restore power to 97% of those who lost power in the 96 hours from when crews could safely begin their work. Since Wednesday, crews have been working on hundreds of streets and homes making the repairs and restoring individual services so our community can focus on recovery from Hurricane Florence.
During the storm, the PWC water distribution system had no interruptions or water quality issues. PWC’s water and wastewater plants, all located along the Cape Fear River, remained operational throughout the storm. Many water systems in eastern and central North Carolina reported significant storm related issues because of Hurricane Florence. On Wednesday, it was reported that over 100 NC water systems are not producing water, have no power; operating off of emergency interconnects, backup generation or stored water. Over 50 are on some type of usage restriction/boil water advisory or out of water.
“PWC’s response and water system reliability were so important to our community and local businesses during Hurricane Florence and will continue to be during our recovery“ said Wade Fowler, PWC Chairman and local restaurant owner. “It’s impossible to do business without water because without it, we can’t stay open.”
John Meroski of the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau also commended PWC on its storm response and system reliability saying “When the world calls 911, Fort Bragg answers the call. When our community needs power and clean drinking water , PWC answers that call confidently, courageously, and timely. We are blessed that our Hometown utility got us power and people had no interruption in one of our most important commodities: WATER.”
As flood waters recede, PWC staff has been evaluating any impact flood water may have had to the treatment facilities. Post-storm, PWC water distribution and sanitary sewer collection system crews are also evaluating any impact flood waters may have had to water and sewer lines throughout the system and restoring services to sanitary sewer lift stations. Some lift stations are still either on backup generation or by-pass until power is restored or repairs can be made or near the Cape Fear River and waiting for flood waters to recede so repairs can be made.