OAKBORO — Following a widespread gas outage that impacted around 3,200 customers in Stanly County last week, Piedmont Natural Gas has completed the physical repairs of a broken pipeline, allowing service and indoor heating restoration for thousands of homes — as well as businesses and schools — in the county.
The full restoration process began on Dec. 15 and has finished for the vast majority of the county after continuing throughout the weekend.
“Repairs to the damaged natural gas line and system tests are complete,” Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, announced in an official statement last week. “Service restoration to individual properties is now underway. We have more than 80 technicians dispersed across Stanly Co. to conduct appliance and equipment relights throughout the day and into Friday.”
Per the company, service crews from around the state were on-site working on the repairs as they completed a series of procedures before placing the line back in service. With all the necessary tests finished, PNG started relighting appliances and equipment — beginning with hospitals and schools — and transitioned to affected neighborhoods.
The situation began on Dec. 13 when a six-inch gas transmission main line on Barbees Grove Road (near N.C. Highway 138) in Oakboro was severely damaged by a third-party contractor. PNG has since announced that it will be launching an investigation into the incident; the contractor at fault could possibly be facing legal fees for initiating the gas line damage.
Unable to maintain heat in large buildings, Stanly County Schools was forced to close Albemarle High, Albemarle Middle, Central, East Albemarle, Aquadale, Norwood, South Stanly Middle, South Stanly High, and STEM Early College for students and staff on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15. All of those schools are now back up-and-running with their full heating capabilities.
Additionally, Stanly County Emergency Management and Stanly County Health and Human Services collaborated to establish a temporary emergency shelter at Anderson Grove Baptist Church for residents impacted by the outage; the county has since closed the shelter.