Local Duke employees, along with 700 from the Midwest, heading south for Hurricane Dorian

About seven or eight Duke Energy employees from Columbus will be joining a caravan of the utilities trucks as the electric company deploys about 700 people from its Midwest operations to help with potential damage from Hurricane Dorian.

Crews from this area are staging at 7 a.m. Friday at the Edinburgh Premium Outlets and driving to Macon, Georgia, where they will wait until the hurricane reaches the U.S. coastline and it is determined where help is most needed, said Chip Orben, Duke Energy spokesman.

The utility is sending assessors, engineers, equipment operators, line persons for both transmission and distribution and back office and support personnel, Orben said.

In addition to the Edinburgh staging area, crews will also be departing from:

  • Aurora
  • Bedford
  • Clarksville
  • Princeton
  • Shelbyville
  • Sullivan
  • Interstate 70 at Cloverdale exit

Once in Macon, Georgia on Friday night, they will await further instructions as to where they will be deployed, either in Florida or the Carolinas, depending on the track of hurricane and level of damage.

It’s unknown at this point how long crews will be deployed, but Orben said most Duke employees have been advised to plan on at least two weeks.

For more on this story, see Friday and Saturday’s Republic editions.