Power losses connected to extreme weather reach 1.7 million customers

Snow storms, high winds and even tornadoes in certain areas have caused power losses to affect 1.7 million customers in the Eastern United States and parts of Canada during a three-day period in late February, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Various storm systems have played havoc with electric grid service from Tuesday Feb. 23 through Thursday Feb. 25, according to DOE.

Since the storm began, it has knocked out power to 1,720,226 customers, and impacts could continue to fluctuate as the system moves northeastward into New England and Canada. As of 4:00 p.m. EST Thursday, 281,702 customers remained without power, DOE reported late Feb. 25.

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) was the hardest hit utility with more than 403,000 customer outages in North and South Carolina, although most Duke customer had their service restored by early Feb. 25.

Hydro Quebec, which reported 250,000 customers without power, said strong winds and freezing rain were causing vegetation to fall on the power lines. The utility said it mobilized 350 crews to restore service and estimated that power should be restored for most affected customers by late Feb. 25.

Ameren (NYSE:AEE) utilities in the Midwest reported that electric service had been restored to most customers. Likewise, Dominion (NYSE:D) reported Feb. 25 that service had been restored to 90% of its customers that suffered outages connected with tornadoes and other extreme weather in Virginia.

Early Feb. 26 the National Weather Service reported that the intense low pressure system that brought heavy rain and severe weather to much of the eastern U.S., and heavy snow to parts of the Midwest, will continue to move northward into Quebec.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.