ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Duke Energy Florida is mobilizing 2,150 linemen and vegetation personnel to safe locations, prepared to respond to outages once Hurricane Matthew reaches Florida. More crews can be added as needed.
Duke Energy is a member of a mutual assistance organization and has agreements with utility contractors to ensure the necessary resources can be brought to Florida from throughout the southeast. These resources include linemen, vegetation management and damage assessment personnel. Duke Energy also provides assistance when storms affect other utilities in other parts of the country.
"Due to the tremendous strength of the storm, our number one concern is the safety of our customers and crews," said Luis Ordaz, storm director, Duke Energy – Florida. "Matthew is a major storm capable of causing significant damage. As we prepare to respond, it's important our customers take Hurricane Matthew extremely seriously and ensure their families are safe."
In addition to making safety a priority, customers should also prepare for significant, widespread power outages. Despite extensive system improvements and rigorous tree trimming, strong winds, wind-blown debris and flooding can cause power outages. When outages occur for any reason, Duke Energy is committed to restoring power as safely and quickly as possible, while keeping customers informed throughout the process.
New technology investments prevent outages
Duke Energy Florida has invested nearly $2.4 billion to harden and upgrade its system since the 2004 hurricanes. In addition to trimming trees and replacing wood poles with steel or concrete, the company invested in grid automation and Smart Grid devices, which improve service reliability and reduce the length and number of outages year-round.
Following Hermine, the new Smart Grid technology prevented 25,000 Duke Energy Florida customers from outages – thwarting more than 3 million customer minutes of power interruptions during the storm. So far this year, grid automation prevented more than 10 million minutes of interruption. Today, more than 20 percent of all Duke Energy Florida customers benefit from the technology. The company continues to expand the investment and plans to have Smart Grid devices installed on lines serving 35 percent of customers by mid-2017.
Customers must get prepared
Customers are encouraged to develop their own hurricane plans and prepare in advance of a storm. Many homes may need to refresh supplies used last month during Hermine.
- Check supplies of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc.
- Fill your vehicle with gas and get cash as gas pumps, ATMs and credit card machines may not work if there are extensive outages.
- Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio is on hand.
- Do not bring a generator inside. Such equipment should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.
- Check on family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs or who are elderly, to ensure they have necessary emergency supplies, and determine now what action they would take in the event of an extended power outage.
- For a "Hurricane Kit Checklist," important safety tips and more information on what to do before, during and after a storm, visit www.duke-energy.com/storm, then click "Outage & Storm Information" under Duke Energy Florida.
Outage reporting and status updates
At any time, customers without power can report their outage by:
- Going online at duke-energy.com or by visiting our mobile website at m.duke-energy.com
- Texting OUT to 57801 (Standard text and data charges may apply)
- Calling the automated outage-reporting system at 800.228.8485
For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter (@DukeEnergy) and Facebook (Duke Energy).
About Duke Energy Florida
Duke Energy Florida owns and operates a diverse generation mix, including renewables, providing about 9,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.
With its Florida regional headquarters located in St. Petersburg, Fla., Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. It supplies and delivers electricity to approximately 7.4 million customers in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 24 million people. The company also distributes natural gas to more than 1.5 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its commercial and international businesses operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing renewable energy portfolio.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is an S&P 100 Stock Index company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.
The Duke Energy News Center serves as a multimedia resource for journalists and features news releases, helpful links, photos and videos. Hosted by Duke Energy, illumination is an online destination for stories about remarkable people, innovations, and community and environmental topics. It also offers glimpses into the past and insights into the future of energy.
Contact: Ana Gibbs
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SOURCE Duke Energy