Piedmont Natural Gas has restored service to about 2,000 customers

Published 3:25 pm Friday, December 16, 2022

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Piedmont Natural Gas has restored natural gas service to the majority of homes and businesses after a multiple-day outage due to a broken line.

As of noon Friday, PNG has restored service to around 2,000 customers. Spokesperson Zach Vavricka said the company “anticipates restoring service to remaining impacted customers by the end of the day.”

For customers who missed a technician’s visit Friday, PNG left door hangers behind with information on how to contact them so the company can send a technician back out to relight equipment and appliances, Vavricka said.

“We are continuing to provide updates to impacted customers and local officials,” Vavricka said. “Thank you to our customers and communities for their patience as we work to restore service from this outage.”

PNG, which is a subsidiary of Duke Energy, has had more than 80 technicians from around the state working around-the-clock to restore heat following a third-party construction crew striking a natural gas transmission main line near Oakboro Tuesday evening.

Around 3,000 customers in Albemarle, Aquadale, Norwood and Oakboro were without service due to the damage.

While PNG would not provide additional details at this time regarding the individuals who struck the main line, “in the coming weeks, we’ll investigate more specifics about how the incident occurred,” Vavricka said.

The gas outage impacted numerous businesses and organizations, including Stanly County Family YMCA, Stanly County Senior Center, the courthouse and the library. Nine schools within the district in Albemarle and the southern portion of the county closed Wednesday and Thursday, though they were back in session Friday.

The Stanly County Detention Center moved about 30 inmates housed in the older section of the jail to Cabarrus and Montgomery counties due to the temperature in the facility falling below the state-regulated 68 degrees, County Manager Andy Lucas said on Wednesday.  The inmates were returned on Thursday, after heat was restored to the jail.

An emergency warming shelter was set up Wednesday evening at Anderson Grove Baptist Church in Albemarle and operated throughout the night and into the next morning, before closing at noon on Thursday.

Only two individuals spent the night at the church, according to Stanly County Social Services Director Dolly Clayton, whose staff managed the shelter, but that did not minimize the shelter’s importance.

“The reality is for those two people, it made a difference,” Clayton said.

Lucas, who estimates most residents either hunkered down in their homes or spent the night nearby with family or friends who had heat, applauded the collective effort of the community during this difficult week, especially faith-based organizations and multi-generational families who “help each other in times of need.”

“Stanly County is a resilient place,” he said, noting how proud he was of the emergency management staff for its coordination with PNG and Clayton and her team for setting up the shelter. “Just the rural nature of this community, people are just going to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make things happen.”

“You really get to see the heart and soul of the community when we have times like this,” he added. “Everybody steps up and comes tougher.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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