DUKE ENERGY: Atlantic Beach outage caused by substation tech failure

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WITN) – Duke Energy says the weekend outages that left residents to face the coldest temperatures in more than a year were caused by technology within a substation failing.

A spokesperson for Duke Energy, Jeff Brooks, says 5,300 customers lost power along the Atlantic Beach strip Sunday morning.

Brooks says the outage was caused by a temperature instrument failing, one that monitors the operational climate of the substation.

He says it had nothing to do with the wintry weather the area was seeing. According to the WITN First Alert Weather Team, there was a chilling temperature of 24 degrees and a wind chill of 11 degrees at 6:10 a.m. when the power outages started being reported.

Brooks also told WITN it wasn’t related to the Durham power outages that happened last week. The spokesman says the outages in Durham were caused by human error, and Atlantic Beach’s outage was a technological error.

Duke Energy is still investigating what caused the temperature instrument to fail. Brooks says the investigation could take a few days or a few weeks.

As for why it took crews longer than predicted to bring back power, Brooks says colder weather makes restoration trickier. He compared it to starting a car in the winter after the battery dies.

Brooks says crews take a more methodical approach in cold weather to ensure reliability does not fail.

He says the “Estimated Time of Restoration” customers see on the outage map is generated by the website software. Brooks says it takes the conditions of current outages and compares them to previous outages to estimate an expected return of service.

Brooks says crews adjust the estimated time of restoration after arriving, assessing the damage, and determining how long it would take to repair.