Hurricane Michael forcing power companies to prepare for outages across Carolinas

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The largest power providers in North Carolina and South Carolina are doing what they can to prepare for the impact of Hurricane Michael.

Those companies are asking their customers to do the same.

Duke Energy and SCE&G have both issued statements warning customers to expect the worst to be caused by the Category 3 hurricane.

The potential outages could result in the loss of electricity, internet access and phone service for significant periods of time, the companies warn.

“We continue to monitor and prepare for the impacts of Hurricane Michael across our service territory,” SCE&G vice president of operations Bill Turner said in a news release available to its 726,000 S.C. electric customers. “Heavy rain and severe winds will cause outages, but regardless of what this storm brings, we’re ready and our system is ready. We want to make sure that all of our customers are prepared as well.”

Duke Energy echoed those sentiments, adding the power outages could potentially last “several days – in both states,” where it has 3.4 million electric customers in N.C. and 756,000 more in S.C.

Much of South Carolina is currently under a tropical storm watch, or warning, according to the National Weather Service, which added that even if the winds caused by the storm are not that powerful they still have the potential to cause objects “to be blown around, and may cause some power outages from limbs falling into power lines.”

Before Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas, SCE&G warned customers to be prepared for a weeklong outage, caused by and possibly delayed by high winds, which could be more powerful in Columbia during Hurricane Michael, The State reported.

That is why SCE&G, Duke Energy and the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, among others, have asked customers to prepare.

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They all agree that everyone should stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the company, along with any outages.

Duke Energy also listed suggestions — including having an emergency supply kit with flashlights and batteries ready, charging phones and computers, keeping a portable radio or TV, prepare water and nonperishable food for those not evacuating.

Hurricane Michael was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane at 4 p.m., Tuesday, and is forecast to make landfall Wednesday before making a predicted trek toward the Carolinas, according to the National Hurricane Center.