Greensboro, NC -- The basic plan and process to restore power is to fix what will affect the most people first.
Take a look at the graphic included in this story. Think of it as Duke Energy's flow chart. When the power goes out, the first place they look is at the transmission lines. That's the tower looking thing on the left side of the graphic. The transmission lines deliver power from the plants to the substations.
If the problem is at the transmission line, when crews fix it, thousands and thousands of people get their power back on. You don't need to see a crew in your neighborhood for this to happen.
Duke Energy works their way down the distribution line, again for maximum impact. What really takes time, is when the outage is right at the house or at the distribution transformers and service lines (the last pictures on the graphic).
"It can be where we have to corodinate with another utility or there is something in the way when we get farther down the line. If there is too much standing water, if there are trees blocking, it takes more time. It gets more individual as we look at the repair and that takes time," says Duke Energy's Davis Montgomery.
When it gets to that individual repair it can add on 2 to 3 days without power.
This particular storm had a maximum outage on Thursday at 7pm at 356, 916 outages.
Here are the explanations of the graphic and the process:
1. Transmission lines supply electricity to large numbers of customers and to large geographic areas. These lines deliver electricity from the power plants to the substations.
2. Substation equipment adjusts the transmission line voltage to lower levels that are appropriate for our main distribution lines.
3. Main distribution lines, also known as primary lines, deliver electricity to large subdivisions and commercial areas.
4. Local distribution lines, installed either overhead or underground, deliver electricity to smaller neighborhoods and businesses. These secondary lines are also known as "tap" lines.
5. Distribution transformers and service lines deliver electricity to your individual home or business either overhead or underground.