Duke Energy preparing for outages, offering tips

CINCINNATI – Duke Energy is preparing for expected power outages from potential high winds and severe weather Wednesday.

Duke Energy officials say they have a comprehensive emergency response plan to restore power in its territories in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky if storms cause outages.

Meteorologists are warning that a continuous line of storms seen on radar images may even spawn an unusual weather event called a derecho, which is a massive storm of strong straight-line winds spanning at least 240 miles.

As part of its preparation, Duke Energy is checking equipment, supplies and inventories to ensure it has adequate materials to make repairs and restore power.

"Storms are unpredictable," Duke Energy spokesperson Sally Thelen said in a release. "Until we are confident in the storm's path and its impact to our customers, we will not release any Duke Energy employees or contractors to assist with restoration efforts outside of our service areas."

Duke Energy is offering the following tips to its customers:

> Check supplies and be sure to have the following items in an emergency response kit: portable radio with fresh batteries, flashlight, first-aid kit, canned or packaged food that can be prepared without cooking or refrigeration, several days' supply of drinking water.

> If someone in your home has special needs or relies on electric-powered life support equipment, determine now the actions you'd take in the event of an extended power outage (i.e., relocate your family member or have a backup generator available). Encourage other family members, friends and neighbors to do the same. 

> As severe weather begins to move through the area, be watchful for downed or sagging power lines. Consider all lines energized as well as trees or limbs in contact with lines.

> Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy and your local police department.

> 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 experience a power outage, Duke is asking that you report it to their agents by calling the company's automated outage-reporting system for your specific service area.

"If you wake up and don't have power, don't assume Duke Energy knows about about it," Thelen said. "Please contact us so we can better assess the situation."

You can contact Duke Energy at the following numbers:

> Ohio and Kentucky: 800-543-5599

> Indiana: 800-343-3525

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