GREENSBORO, N.C. — We all remember Duke Energy's rolling blackouts on Christmas Eve.
Some folks had a couple of hours without power, and some folks, like myself, were without power for seven hours. None of us wants to go through it again.
A WFMY News 2 viewer sent us an email saying:
We had rolling blackouts on Christmas Eve and now they've contacted us again to do it again Tuesday for five hours.
2 Wants To Know went directly to Duke Energy. Let me be clear, Duke Energy says there are no rolling blackouts scheduled for this week. However, when you take a look at the Duke Energy outage map, you see there are in fact some outages out there.
Some are emergencies, but some, like the seven outages just south of Greensboro, are planned.
The cause says the outage is resulting from an equipment upgrade to enhance service. This is the kind of planned outage, is that the viewer was talking about.
“Much of our work is proactive, we do hundreds of projects a day throughout the state to upgrade the grid or do maintenance work. Depending on the kind of work, you may get a different kind of communication. We use proactive text alerts or phone calls. If it's more involved we will send a postcard,” said Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Duke Energy.
The viewer got an alert from Duke Energy saying:
Equipment improvement will be made on January 24. Service will be interrupted for about 5 hours starting at 8:30 in the morning.
“If you ever have a question about it you can always call our customer service at Duke Energy and say I got this notification I'm not sure what it is, can you confirm that it is legitimate,” said Brooks.
Brooks says Duke Energy is working on its communications with customers, but sometimes there is no way to tell you ahead of time that your power may go off.
“You may get some situations where the work is so emergency, that we can't provide you notice. This happens say if a car hits a utility pole and we have to turn off power to get the occupant out of the car,” said Brooks.
No one would want to miss an alert that the power will be out. All of us need to update our information with our utilities. For example, it’s likely you had a home phone number when you opened your Duke Energy account. By now, you may have canceled your home number and only use a cell. Make sure the utility has it.
Why are there so many planned outages and repairs? “We do a lot of work around the electric grid every day to provide the reliable service you expect. Some of that work is maintenance work to keep things operating smoothly, a lot of it though is upgrades, so we're adding new equipment, new lines, new poles or doing vegetation management. Sometimes after big storms, we have to do additional repairs. Maybe that issue we repaired quickly just to get things back after the storm, but it needs follow-up work,” said Brooks.