Trucks are rolling as crews address tens of thousands without power in WNC

Photo: WLOS

Power--or the lack of it-- is still a major issue for many Sunday night, but Duke Energy officials say progress is being made.

Crews are in action, and they've come here from across the country as utility workers trying to get power restored, one location at a time.

Trucks started rolling out Sunday morning, just as soon as it was determined where they were needed most.

"It does follow a very orchestrated, very structured process," said Duke Energy's John Butcher. "The work is identified, the work is engineered and assigned, and work restored."

On Birch Street in Asheville Saturday night, a large tree limb, weighted down by snow, crashed onto a power line. The late-night light show was caused when an insulator sparked and-burned. Someone called Duke, and another repair effort was underway.

"I guess a couple hours ago, guys came out and started cutting trees," said Asheville resident Arthur Williams. "Electric people here now, hopefully next couple hours we'll have the lights back on."

Tony Maldonado in Arden said he and his neighbors along Fair Oaks had been without power since 11:30 p.m. Saturday. He voiced frustration Sunday evening after noticing homes just one road over had power while he remained in the dark.

"In the surrounding area there are homes with power," Maldonado said. "Our street has been dark, and we just don't understand why."

A Duke Energy spokesperson told News 13 that there was a great deal of tree damage in Fair Oaks area. They explained that heavy snow often takes down smaller, feeder lines that serve just one spot.

The Duke spokesperson added that, although frustrating, it's not unusual for one nearby area to have power restored before another.

The spokesperson said priority jobs are done first -- like first response and medical centers -- then widespread outages, then finally streets like Fair Oaks.

On Sunday night crews are at work, but there's still a lot of work to be done. Duke Energy said in a news release Sunday night that some residents in the mountains may not have power restoration times until Tuesday.

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