Helping Hands in North Carolina

TVA is doing its part to help get the lights back on for those affected by Hurricane Florence—contributing crews on the ground and in the air.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2018—About 80 TVA construction personnel now in Wilmington, North Carolina, will be helping to restore power today to the estimated 300,000 Duke Energy customers who are still without power. Duke Energy reported that about 1.4 million customers had been without power due to Hurricane Florence.

“Everybody here is glad to see us. They’ve been blowing their horns and waving as we arrived here in Wilmington,” said Inspector Tim Dilbeck with U.S. TVA Police and Emergency Management. “They’re ready to get their power turned back on.”

TVA employees gather in Hickory, N.C., as they prepare to deploy in nearby Wilmington.

Though Florence has left the South, major flooding has essentially cut off Wilmington from the rest of the state. The city of about 119,000 residents was in the center of the storm when Florence first came ashore Thursday. It has received about 27 inches of rain since.

Due to the extensive rains, TVA crews will be helping restore power to the region amid the threat of rising water. Flooding is expected to continue as 20 major rivers in the Carolinas are expected to crest this week. Authorities say it could take as long as two weeks for waters to recede as mountain runoff makes its way to the coast.

Apart from crews on the ground, TVA has two helicopters serving in the region. Yesterday, one helicopter performed power line inspections while the other carried supplies into the Wilmington area. Moving supplies by air has proved most effective in the wake of road shutdowns and obstructions.

A TVA helicopter prepares to deliver needed supplies.

TVA helicopters are part of a larger aerial effort. Duke is coordinating aircraft, drones and fuel trucks from multiple agencies that have moved equipment and supplies into the areas hardest hit by Florence. 

TVA and Duke Energy have a mutual assistance agreement that calls for TVA to send personnel and equipment in response to severe weather or other significant events. TVA has a similar agreement with Southern Company and is part of RESTORE, an equipment sharing initiative for obtaining critical equipment following disasters.