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Local

Thousands Still Without Power on Monday

By Laura Hunsberger

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/whqr/local-whqr-984001.mp3

Wilmington, NC – As of Monday afternoon, more than 78,000 households and businesses were still waiting for electricity after Hurricane Irene swept eastern North Carolina this weekend. WHQR's Laura Hunsberger reports that by midnight, Progress Energy expects to complete restoration to 85% of the customers who were out of service.

Company officials estimate that at 2 pm on Saturday, 280,000 customers had no power, the peak outage during the storm.

Spokesman Mike Hughes says the company is going to great lengths to restore power, with four times the number of crew members at work, but the damage and flooding in certain areas has slowed them down.

"We're having to use helicopters and boats and tracked vehicles to get to facilities that are on the ground or underwater in some of the swampy and low-lying areas."

Progress Energy projects that 96% of customers will be back in service by midnight Tuesday and 99% by midnight Wednesday. A total of 440,000 customers experienced a loss of electrical power at some point during Irene.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? If so, we'd like to hear from you. Please email the WHQR News Team.