N.C. Power Outage Leads to Death of Worker

The most devastating ice storm in North Carolina's recent history has claimed another life. Duke Power is reporting an out-of-state worker, brought in to help restore power during the crisis, was killed in a vehicle accident near Gastonia, N.C., Sunday morning. The accident occurred on U.S. 321.

The name of the person killed has not been announced pending notification of next-of-kin. The worker was traveling in a utility truck.

A total of 4,300 workers from 15 states have been assisting Duke Power in restoring power to more than 1 million customers who lost their power from an ice storm last week.

"Duke Power expresses its condolences to the family of the utility worker killed this morning," said Bill Coley, president of Duke Power. "We are deeply saddened by news of the accident. The support we have received from other utilities has been outstanding, and we deeply appreciate their extraordinary assistance."

So far, the utility, with help from other utilities, has restored power to 1,062,080 of its customers who lost power during last week's severe ice storm. Now, 78 percent of the total outages reported in North Carolina and South Carolina have been restored.

"Our crews continue to make progress in spite of difficult circumstances, including extensive damage across North and South Carolina," said E.O. Ferrell, senior vice president of electric distribution for Duke Power. "The work can be slow and time-consuming, but our crews are focused on getting the job done as quickly and safely as possible."

Weather conditions forecast for today include rain, moderate winds and low temperatures. The company is monitoring these conditions for any impacts to restoration activities. Improving weather is expected on Wednesday.

This ice storm is by far the most devastating in Duke Power's history in terms of number of people affected. The more than 1.3 million outages from the December 5 ice storm are almost twice the number of outages from previous benchmarks: The ice storm of February 1996 affected 660,000 customers, and just under 700,000 customers were out of service during Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

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