ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - Hurricane season begins June 1 and experts forecast nine named storms, of which three will become hurricanes. Recognized as an industry leader in storm preparedness and restoration, Duke Energy is ready.
During the past year, the company has continued to take aggressive action to strengthen its energy delivery system, such as comprehensively inspecting power poles, upgrading the distribution system and thoroughly trimming and pruning trees and other vegetation that may contribute to power outages if a storm strikes. Over the last three years, the company has spent more than $500 million on maintaining and strengthening its Florida system.
"Our company works year-round to ensure we're ready for whatever Mother Nature brings," said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy state president Florida. "Our skilled and dedicated storm teams mobilize and move quickly into the communities we serve when the power goes out. They are the ones who run into the storm, not evacuate out."
Floridians live with the threat of hurricanes, and if a storm strikes, Duke Energy employees work to restore power as safely and quickly as possible.
"Our field personnel, located across the state, put it all on the line every day for the benefit of our customers," said Michael Lewis, senior vice president, Florida Delivery Operations. "And thousands of other dedicated employees have a hand in storm preparation and restoration year in and year out."
An important part of the company's storm-hardening improvements is inspecting and replacing power poles. In the last eight years, Duke Energy Florida has inspected more than 898,000 poles and replaced about 29,000 of them. More than 479,000 poles were treated to prevent decay.
"Our job is to ensure our customers have the energy they need to run their businesses and live their lives," added Glenn. "We take this responsibility very seriously."
Being fully prepared is essential in this area where storms, hurricanes and violent weather can occur regularly. Duke Energy encourages customers to take the time to plan ahead and offers these tips:
- Create (or update) an emergency supply kit to help you save valuable time later. Remember, your supply kit should be made up of everything you need for at least two weeks, especially medicines and other supplies that may be hard to find.
- Keep a supply of water and non-perishable food items on hand.
- Ensure first aid supplies and all medicines are readily available.
- Review your insurance policy and include an extra copy of it in your supply kit along with extra copies of any other important paperwork.
- Make sure flashlights are readily available and working and that a supply of extra batteries is on hand.
- Have a portable radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio on hand to monitor official weather forecasts and other important information for your area.
- Have a plan to move yourself and your family -- especially those with special needs -- to an alternate location in case you have to evacuate or experience an extended power outage.
- Homeowners who depend on well water should draw an emergency water supply in case power to their electric water pumps is interrupted.
- If you have an emergency power source, learn how to use it properly.
- Unplug major nonvital appliances. Advanced surge protection systems will protect your home from most power surges but will not prevent damage from a direct lightning strike.
For a Hurricane Kit Checklist, important safety tips and more information that will help you before, during and after a storm, please visit www.duke-energy.com/storm and then click on "Outage & Storm Information" under Duke Energy Florida.
For more tips on general emergency preparedness, please visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management at www.floridadisaster.org.
Duke Energy Florida
Duke Energy Florida owns coal-fired and natural gas generation providing about 9,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 20,000-square-mile service area.
With its Florida regional headquarters located in St. Petersburg, Fla., Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with approximately $115 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.2 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international energy business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.