Sept 15 (Reuters) – U.S. power companies said more than 870,000 homes and businesses, mostly in North Carolina and South Carolina, were without power on Saturday after Florence hit the Southeast coast. Tropical Storm Florence dumped “epic” amounts of rain on North and South Carolina as it trudged inland on Saturday, triggering dangerous flooding, toppling trees, cutting power to nearly a million homes and businesses while causing at least five deaths. In North Carolina alone, there were 777,937 power outages as of 1:20 p.m. ET, according to North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety. Duke Energy Corp, the area’s biggest utility with more than 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million and 3 million outages. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said. Duke said it had more than 20,000 personnel ready to start fixing outages as soon as conditions allowed, including more than 8,000 from Duke’s Carolinas utilities, 1,700 from the Midwest, 1,200 from Florida and 9,400 from other utilities. “High winds and severe flooding from Hurricane Florence will impede the pace of our outage restoration efforts. Work will begin when conditions safely allow,” the company said on its website on Saturday.
The following table lists major outages according to the utilities’ websites:
Power Company State Out Now Served Duke – Carolinas NC, SC 509,265 4,040,000 North Carolina co-ops NC 313,012 1,000,000 Santee Cooper SC 35,813 176,700 South Carolina co-ops SC 45,467 750,000 Dominion NC, VA 1,391 2,596,400 Southern – Georgia Power GA 992 2,441,300 Scana – SCE&G SC 868 724,300 AEP – Appalachian Power WV, VA, TN 135 1,033,600 TOTAL 871,130
(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Chizu Nomiyama)