Duke Energy Florida assessing damage and repairing outages from Hurricane Matthew

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  • More than 2,200 line and vegetation management personnel mobilized

  • Company urges customers to remember safety first and to stay away from downed power lines

  • Widespread power outages are occurring with significant damage

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Duke Energy Florida has damage assessments and restoration efforts underway in the heaviest hit parts of its service area as Hurricane Matthew slowly exits the state. Restorations are largely complete in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties.

As of 3 p.m., 162,800 customers, mostly in Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Lake counties were still without power. More than 38,000 customers in the state have already been restored.

However, the company anticipates more outages will be reported as outer bands of the storm continue to bring heavy wind and rain to the Duke Energy service territory.

Crews in Central Florida, where communities saw the heaviest rains and 100-mile-an-hour-plus winds, are making restorations, but in a few areas, efforts are being hampered by the continuing hazardous weather conditions.

"We will work as quickly and safely as possible," said Luis Ordaz, storm director, Duke Energy – Florida. "We have the personnel and equipment in place. Damage assessors will help us provide reliable restoration times for customers and restore service in those areas able to receive service."

More than 2,200 line and vegetation personnel are on the ground and an additional 170 Duke Energy crews will be arriving from the Midwest.

Company officials said the most important thing customers can do at this point is focus on safety and to check on family members and neighbors who are elderly or have special medical needs.

Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all power lines energized, as well as trees or limbs in contact with power lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy. If a power line falls across a car you're in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.

The first step of storm restoration is damage assessment. During this process, estimate restoration times are not available. For a better understanding, and to check on outages, go to Duke Energy Florida's web page.

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.

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

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Customer Outage Reporting/Customer Service (24-hour) -- 800-228-8485 
Media Line (24-hour) -- 800-559-3853