Duke Energy strengthens the grid, increases resiliency ahead of the 2024 hurricane season

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  • More than 70% of Duke Energy Florida customers now benefit from smart, self-healing technologies
  • Duke Energy Florida encourages customers to have a plan in place

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., June 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly from a disruption, and Duke Energy Florida has been preparing ahead of the start of hurricane season to respond quickly and restore power faster when the next storm strikes.

(PRNewsfoto/Duke Energy)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts an above-normal hurricane season with 17 to 25 named storms this season, including 8 to 13 hurricanes, and 4 to 7 of those becoming major hurricanes. This year's forecast predicts around 30% more storm activity compared to the number of storms predicted last year.

The company has a comprehensive and flexible storm response plan, built upon decades of experience and improvement. Advanced forecasting and damage modeling processes help the company to place crews, support resources and equipment strategically ahead of a storm to respond quickly as outages occur.

Duke Energy Florida maintains an electric army of nearly 4,000 employees and contractors ready to respond to outages when storms strike. And alliances with peer utilities provide additional resources to shorten response times and get communities back on their feet faster.

Building a stronger, more resilient power grid

Thanks to its Storm Protection Plan and the company's year-round infrastructure work, Duke Energy Florida is making improvements and upgrades to its systems and lines to support the rapid growth of our Florida communities, enhance its storm response and provide better information when outages do occur.

Some of these improvements include upgrading thousands of poles and wires to increase reliability and better withstand storms, strategically placing outage-prone lines underground in some areas, managing trees and vegetation, and installing smart, self-healing technology that can automatically detect power outages and quickly restore power when an outage occurs.

  • During hurricanes Ian, Nicole and Idalia, self-heling technology helped save more than 200 million outage minutes for Duke Energy Florida customers. More than 70% of Duke Energy Florida customers benefit from self-healing and automated restoration technologies.
  • The company plans to install hundreds of miles of underground cable in areas that are identified as the most outage-prone lines. Approximately 48% of Duke Energy Florida's primary power lines are underground and better protected from wind damage.
  • Teams have completed more than 4,000 miles of maintenance trimming on Duke Energy Florida's distribution lines and 600 miles of planned work on the transmission side.
  • Over the past three year, more than 40,000 poles have been hardened through the Storm Protection Plan.
  • Additionally, the company is expanding capacity of the electric grid by building new substations, expanding existing substations and installing new or larger circuits to provide reliable service in the growing state. Duke Energy has completed optimization of eight substations, with another 38 in flight in Florida.

These investments are already benefitting Florida customers. In 2023, the company had its best reliability performance in more than a decade. Between 2018 and 2023, the company reduced the average length of a customer outage by 27%.

Personal preparedness is key to a more resilient home or business

Duke Energy Florida encourages its customers to prepare for potential hurricanes and other severe storms and to have a plan to increase their personal resiliency following a major storm. Below are some recommended safety tips:

Before the storm

  • Create (or update) an emergency supply kit to save valuable time later. The kit should include everything an individual or family would need for at least two weeks, especially medicines, water, nonperishable foods and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm hits. Visit Ready.gov for more helpful tips as you develop your emergency plan.
  • Have a plan in place to move family members – especially those with special needs – to a safe, alternate location if an extended power outage occurs.
  • Charge cellphones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of storms to stay connected to important safety and response information. And make sure all portable chargers are fully charged. Consider purchasing a portable radio to monitor weather and get updates.
  • Download the Red Cross Emergency app to stay connected to tips ahead of the storm and response activities as communities recover. 

During the storm

  • If an outage occurs, disconnect or turn off any nonessential electrical equipment that may start automatically when power is restored to avoid overloading circuits.
  • Do not open freezers or refrigerators more than necessary. Opening can cause food to thaw more quickly.

After the storm

  • Stay away from downed power lines and areas that may be hiding lines, such as floodwater and debris. Consider all lines energized, as well as trees, limbs or anything in contact with lines. Report downed lines to Duke Energy.
  • Only operate generators outside and follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • If a power line falls across a car that you are in, stay in the car. If you must get out of the car due to a fire or another immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body touches the car when your feet touch the ground.
  • If you must travel right after a storm, never drive across downed power lines and always move over or slow down when passing utility crews working along the side of the road.

For more tips on how to prepare for storm season and how Duke Energy can help, please visit duke-energy.com/StormTips. For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter (@DukeEnergy) and Facebook (Duke Energy).

Outage reporting

Customers who experience an outage during a storm can report it the following ways:

  • Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply).
  • Use the Duke Energy mobile app – Download the Duke Energy App from a smartphone via the Apple Store or Google Play.
  • Visit duke-energy.com on a desktop computer or mobile device.
  • Call 800.228.8485.
  • Customers can find more at duke-energy.com/storm.

Customer service specialists also will be available to manage customer calls should the need arise, with more than 1,500 additional corporate responders from across all Duke Energy jurisdictions available to assist as needed.

Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns 12,300 megawatts of energy capacity, supplying electricity to 2 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across a 13,000-square-mile service area in Florida.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America's largest energy holding companies. The company's electric utilities serve 8.4 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 54,800 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas utilities serve 1.7 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky.

Duke Energy is executing an ambitious clean energy transition, keeping reliability, affordability and accessibility at the forefront as the company works toward net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company is investing in major electric grid upgrades and cleaner generation, including expanded energy storage, renewables, natural gas and nuclear.

More information is available at duke-energy.com and the Duke Energy News Center. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook, and visit illumination for stories about the people and innovations powering our energy transition.

Contact: Audrey StaskoMedia line: 800.559.3853Twitter: @DE_AudreyS

 

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