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Significant power outage disrupts downtown Greenville

"Power Outage"
“Power Outage”

Downtown Greenville endured a significant power outage on Saturday, March 23, 2024, halting numerous businesses for approximately three hours starting from 9:30 AM. City officials reported the outage was due to unexpected equipment failure in a primary substation.

Residents and workers, alike, lost electricity, affecting homes and businesses. Significant disruptions to the city’s traffic flow occurred, with police directing traffic as stoplights failed. Grocery stores and restaurants temporarily ceased operation causing early lunch crowd congestion in power-retain areas.

Pitt County hospital’s backup generators kicked in seamlessly, ensuring no disruption to patient care. However, several schools, universities, and public institutions were affected, causing mild distress among residents.

Majority of the downtown area had power restored by 12:30 PM. The local power company assured residents they are taking steps to prevent future outages. Greenville’s Mayor commended the power company’s swift response and thanked residents for their understanding and patience.

The business sector experienced significant disruption.

Downtown Greenville grapples with power outage

Stores relied on cash transactions only due to card machine failure, causing sudden customer dissatisfaction and a significant dip in sales. Tasks such as responding to client emails became burdensome, leading to decreased productivity.

Jeff Blinder from Alley Cat Records noticed unusual crowd confusion on the streets with his record store eerily silent due to electricity failure. Local cafes and market vendors also suffered, unable to serve hot drinks, process payments or keep goods refrigerated.

The blackout incidence instigated discussions on potential refund avenues for affected businesses. Duke Energy suggested businesses might file insurance claims for losses incurred during the power outage. Local authorities also advised business owners to document their losses, which could aid insurance claims. Further financial assistance is being explored by the city’s crisis management team, though business sentiment remains apprehensive.

Despite the outage being resolved by midday, businesses reported considerable losses and increased urgency to avoid future power cuts. However, all businesses highlighted the necessity of a stable electrical provision and expressed the negative effects experienced after such service disruption.

Anderson Vanlundingham from the University Book Exchange expressed reluctance about managing similar situations in the future. Unfortunately, further comments from Greenville Utilities Commission were unavailable, resulting in a lingering atmosphere of uncertainty and cautious optimism among the local business community.

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