Thousands of utility workers are in North Carolina this weekend, helping to restore electricity to about 191,000 customers still without power after Friday’s rain, wind and ice. But officials say it could be several more days until some people have their power back.
The winter storm that battered North Carolina with strong winds and ice on Friday knowkced out power to more than half a million customers in the central part of the state. Duke Energy spokeswoman Tammie McGee says the outages are so concentrated because in some cases they start at the transmission lines from power plans.
"When you have transmission lines down, it takes down a lot of customers. So what we do is work from the largest number of customers we can restore down to neighborhood level," McGee said.
She says some customers could be without power until Wednesday. Duke Energy has 4300 people working in the state to restore service.
DUKE SAYS CUSTOMERS WILL PAY FOR COAL ASH CLEANUPS
Duke Energy's CEO says the company and its shareholders will pay to clean up a coal ash spill in the Dan River, but customers likely will foot the bill for closing the rest of the utility's coal ash ponds across North Carolina – through higher rates. Duke CEO Lynn Good told The Charlotte Observer customers benefited from the ash when it was the byproduct of making electricity for generations, so they should have to pay the costs of dealing with the ash now. Duke Energy has until March 15 to give the state details about how it will pay for taking care of its 32 ash ponds at 14 North Carolina power plants. Good spoke after receiving the BusinessWoman of the Year award at Queens University on Friday.
DRIVER SURRENDERS AFTER HIT-AND-RUN DEATH
The driver who struck and killed a Charlotte woman Thursday on North Tryon Street and then drove away has turned himself in. 29-year-old Victor Alfonso-Manzano Menendez came to police headquarters Saturday morning with a lawyer and surrendered. He was charged with felony hit and run and driving without a license. Police also seized a white van that Menendez was driving. In Thursday night’s incident, 51-year-old Margaret Rutledge was struck and killed as she crossed North Tryon Street near the intersection of Old Concord Road.
POLICE INVESTIGATE 2 SATURDAY MURDERS
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police are investigating two separate murders on Saturday. In the first, around 4:40am, 30-year-old Dexter Lattimore was shot to death on Julia Avenue, off Statesville Avenue in north Charlotte. Police are still looking for witnesses. In the other case, police were called to investigate a report of gunshots at 5:47pm the 9000 block of Windsong Drive, in southwest Charlotte. They found 32-year-old Jose Vedal with fatal gunshot wounds. Police say the victim and a suspect knew one another and were involved in an altercation before the shooting. Police are asking for help in both cases. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600, or visit charlotte-crimestoppers-dot-com.
DEMOCRATS TO CONSIDER NEW LEADER
The North Carolina Democratic Party's governing board is meeting today to decide next steps to determine who will lead the party's day-to-day operations entering a key election year. The party's executive council planned to convene in Greensboro, a month after Chairman Randy Voller fired Executive Director Robert Dempsey. Voller has declined to give a reason for the dismissal. The 51-member council would have to sign off on any permanent replacement Voller offers. The council could agree more time is needed to review resumes. Soon after Dempsey's firing, Voller appeared to be considering civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis for the job. He backed off the idea as many party activists opposed Chavis's candidacy. The party is trying to rebound from poor electoral showings in 2010 and 2012.