Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas tips for customers

Published 11:15 am Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Duke Energy, which also owns Piedmont Natural Gas, has advice for what to do before, during and after Hurricane Florence.Widespread power outages are expected, with restoration efforts that could take days or weeks.The company is calling in crews from other states to assist with repairs.

Before the storm

  • Have a portable radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio on hand to monitor official weather forecasts and other important information for your area.
  • Families who have special medical needs or elderly members should closely monitor weather forecasts and make plans for potential alternate arrangements should an extended outage occur.
  • Have a plan to move yourself and your family – especially those with special needs – to an alternate location in case you have to evacuate or experience an extended power outage.
  • Keep a supply of water and nonperishable food items on hand.
  • Ensure first aid supplies and all medicines are readily available.
  • Make sure flashlights are readily available and working and that a supply of extra batteries is on hand.
  • Consider the need for specialty items such as prescription medication, baby food, additional warm clothing and a safe heat source. 
  • Homeowners who depend on well water should draw an emergency water supply in case power to their electric water pumps is interrupted.
  • If you have an emergency heating or power source, learn how to use it properly. 
  • Have at least one traditional analog phone in your home that does not require electricity to operate. Cordless phones and phones with built-in answering machines will not operate during a power outage.
  • During the storm
  • Continue to monitor the media for important information.
  • If you experience a power outage, please call Duke Energy’s toll-free, automated outage reporting system at 800.POWERON (800.769.3766). Spanish speaking customers should call 866.4APAGON (866.427.2466) for outage reporting assistance. Those with access to the Internet may report an outage using our online report form. Sign up here to receive phone or email alerts or text REG to 57801 for text alerts.
  • If you anticipate an extended outage, consider moving yourself and your family — especially those with special needs — to an alternative location.
  • Consider checking on others who may benefit from your assistance.
  • Consider all downed power lines and anything touching them energized and DANGEROUS! Do not get near them and report the problem to Duke Energy.
  • Don’t open freezers and refrigerators any more than absolutely necessary. Opening these appliances will allow food to thaw more quickly.
  • During severe weather or power outages, turn off as many appliances and electronics as possible. After the power is restored, to help avoid damage, wait five to 10 minutes before turning them back on.
  • After the storm
  • Replenish your supplies of batteries, bottled water and nonperishable food items in preparation for future storms.
  • Have a licensed electrician disconnect your generator unless the generator has an automatic disconnection device.
  • Safety around power lines
  • Stay away from downed or sagging power lines, and do not touch anything that is on or near a power line (i.e., trees or tree limbs, cars, ladders).
  • Keep children and family pets away from areas where lines may have fallen (backyards, fields, school yards, etc.).
  • 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.
  • Report all power line hazards to Duke Energy or your local emergency services department or agency.

Piedmont Natural Gas

Piedmont Natural Gas announced the activation of its Severe Weather Preparedness Plan in response to Hurricane Florence and has issued a list of safety recommendations for customers who experience flooding or any other damage to their natural gas equipment or appliances as the result of Hurricane Florence.

If water enters your home:

  • Do not attempt to disconnect or work on or around your natural gas meter.
  • Do not attempt to relight any of your natural gas appliances. Call Piedmont at 800-752-7504 so we can inspect your meter and your natural gas appliances for possible damage.
  • Do not attempt to clear flood debris from your natural gas meter or from any other natural gas appliance, including your water heater. Call Piedmont for an assessment.
  • Never use outdoor equipment indoors for cooking or heating. This includes natural gas grills, generators, etc.

If your natural gas appliances are damaged by water:

  • Natural gas appliances damaged by water may need to be replaced according to manufacturer guidelines and instructions. 
  • When choosing a contractor for repair or replacement of your natural gas appliances, make sure the contractor is licensed, committed to safety and follows all manufacturer safety guidelines.
  • You can choose to work with Piedmont Natural Gas, one of our approved Gas Advantage Dealers, or any other licensed contractor to repair or replace damaged appliances.
  • Note that unauthorized repairs can be unsafe and may void your warranty according to manufacturer guidelines.
  • Call your appliance manufacturer if you are unsure that the work being performed is an approved repair.

If you suspect a natural gas leak (natural gas smells like rotten eggs):

  • Leave the premises immediately.
  • Call Piedmont Natural Gas at 800.752.7504 or dial 911.
    • Call from a neighbor’s house or from another location far from the smell of natural gas.
  • DO NOT use anything electrical that may create a spark; this includes cellphones.
  • DO NOT operate any light switches.
  • DO NOT light a match.
  • DO NOT attempt to locate the source of the leak.
  • DO NOT attempt to stop the leak.
  • DO NOT return to the area until Piedmont Natural Gas or the emergency services have declared the area safe. 
  • DO NOT attempt to operate pipeline valves yourself. You may inadvertently cause more danger or additional damage.
  • DO NOT attempt to extinguish a natural gas fire.  

Wind-related damage:

  • If you see or suspect damage to natural gas lines or facilities due to uprooted trees or wind-related damage, call Piedmont Natural Gas at 800.752.7504 or call 911.

Call 811 before you dig:

  • Call 811 to have your natural gas lines located and marked (for free) before you remove uprooted trees, rebuild storm-damaged structures or dig anywhere on your property.

Customers with immediate questions or concerns should call Piedmont Natural Gas at 800.752.7504. Additionally, customers can also visit the company’s website at piedmontng.com for additional information and storm-related updates.