Customers of Duke Energy can receive real-time power outage information via a new mobile app, according to the company.
The company said the surge of Hurricane Matthew as it approaches the East Coast has led to nearly 1.4 million customers signing up for the service that will offer information about specific power outages, estimated restoration times, outage causes, crew status and other outage information. The service is free.
"We're working hard to provide customers with real-time information so they can better plan their lives when impacted by a power outage," said Gayle Lanier, Duke Energy senior vice president of customer services, in the release. "We recognize being without power is inconvenient, and our goal is to keep our customers informed during an outage."
As part of the program, customers can text OUT to 57801 to report an outage from their mobile phone. To stay informed of future power outages, customers sign up to receive power outage alerts from Duke Energy by texting REG to 57801 or choose from text, email or phone alerts by enrolling at http://www.duke-energy.com/OutageAlerts.
The program launched in Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Florida in August 2015, and in Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Indiana, Duke Energy Ohio and Duke Energy Kentucky in November 2015.
In preparation for Hurricane Matthew, Duke Energy recommends customers double-check their readiness for possible power outages:
Prepare emergency kits -- Check your supplies and be sure to have the following items in an easy-to-find location:
* Flashlights with extra batteries
* Portable radio with fresh batteries
* First-aid kit
* Canned or packaged food that can be prepared without cooking or refrigeration
* Several days' supply of drinking water
* Portable (and fully charged) cell phone charger
* Prescription medication
Charge all electronic devices -- Charge cell phones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of the storm to stay connected to important safety and response information.
Determine alternative plans -- Families who have special medical needs or elderly members should closely monitor weather forecasts and make plans for potential alternate arrangements should an extended outage occur.