I am in Wilmington, NC, which is also "Progress" Energy. Dropping phases is pretty common here, and there is still a pole pig for every house or two, at least in older areas. Maybe we are less of a priority than the capital, even though we are on the coast in an area that seems to Hoover hurricanes.
Looping seems like a good idea, but I know it can cause some headaches when there is a need to drop power to a segment. I live quite close to the main hospital and noticed some rather involved switches near there. Maybe that section is looped and the bad direction can be cut off. We do have a reputation for early restoration.