2005-12-21 / Columns

The ice has melted — our resolve has not


On Dec. 15, we awoke to a wintry glaze – and the beginning of one of the worst ice storms in the history of the Piedmont Carolinas, particularly in Upstate South Carolina.

A half-inch coating of ice on trees and power lines caused the lights to go out — from Greenville County, S.C., to Gaston County, N.C. — and many points in between. There’s never a good time to lose electricity, but cold, preholiday days — and nights — are especially hard.

Duke Power shifted into emergency mode well before the storm, thanks to an inhouse meteorology team and emergency planners and responders. When the lights went out, so did an army of more than 6,500 Duke Power employees and contractors dedicated to the response effort. They will continue to work around-the-clock to safely restore electrical service to all customers.

We are grateful for the help of utility crews from 16 states, who began arriving the day of the storm and helped bring our storm workforce to 10,000. They are with us still, and we appreciate the camaraderie of an industry dedicated to serving its neighbors in need.

We are grateful, too, for the examples of neighbors helping neighbors occurring in all corners of our service area: people opening their homes, staffing shelters, sharing meals and checking on those who may need extra help. The spirit of the season is evident, even when holiday lights have been dimmed.

The cadre of line technicians spread across two states are performing difficult, dangerous work. They have been warmly welcomed, even by those whose homes are cold.

We are grateful for the responsiveness of community agencies and emergency personnel who represent the best within us — at the most trying times. The human toll that accompanies crises of this magnitude is profoundly sad, and our hearts go out to those who have been affected.

Duke Power appreciates the patience of our customers, the goodwill of our neighbors — and the enormous responsibility we have to serve and respond.

Our company maintains a powerful, complex delivery system. An ice storm can wreak havoc with the lines and poles that make up that system. Recovery takes a concerted, community effort. It also takes time.

The ice has melted. Our work continues. Thank you

for your patience, your understanding, and your caring, community spirit.

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