Company urges customers to remember safety first and to stay away from downed power lines.
Widespread power outages expected.
Significant damage to electrical infrastructure could extend restoration time.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., -- Duke Energy Florida is mobilizing approximately 7,000 lineworkers, tree professionals, damage assessment and support personnel to safe locations prepared to respond to outages once Hurricane Irma reaches Florida.
Assistance from across the U.S. and Canada, including company resources from the Midwest, is on the way to assist with restoration efforts. Crews and equipment will be staged close to the state of Florida on Saturday and Sunday. The staging area affords rapid response but provides enough distance to ensure the safety of our crews and resources.
Duke Energy, through the Southeastern Electric Exchange (a mutual assistance organization), has agreements with other utilities and contract companies to ensure the necessary resources can be brought to Florida from throughout the Southeast.
"Due to the tremendous size and strength of the hurricane, our No. 1 concern is the safety of our customers and crews," said Luis Ordaz, Duke Energy Florida storm director. "Hurricane Irma is a major storm capable of causing significant damage. As we prepare to respond, it's important our customers take Hurricane Irma 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. After the hurricane has passed and conditions are safe for travel, workers will be deployed immediately to make repairs and restore electric service as safely and quickly as possible.
Duke Energy meteorologists continue to monitor the movement of Hurricane Irma and are developing up-to-the-minute forecasts to help the company plan and prepare.
"We are closely watching Hurricane Irma to determine its specific impact to Florida," said Max Thompson, Duke Energy meteorologist. "Irma is one of the most powerful storms we've seen in the Atlantic since we started keeping records. While the track of the storm could still change, it is important for people who live in its potential path to make plans now and prepare their homes and families."
Duke Energy has a detailed storm response plan. As part of our preparation for Hurricane Irma, we are checking equipment, supplies and inventories to ensure we have adequate materials to make repairs and restore power outages.
The following tips can help you and your family stay safe when severe weather strikes and the power goes out:
- Create (or update) an emergency supply kit. The kit should include everything an individual or family would need for at least two weeks, especially medicines and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm strikes.
- Fill your vehicle with gas and get cash. ATMs and credit card machines may not work if there are extensive outages.
- Keep a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather forecasts and important information from state and local officials.
- Have a plan to move family members – especially those with special needs – to a safe, alternative location in case an extended power outage occurs or evacuation is required.
- Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees, limbs or anything in contact with lines.
- Follow the direction, guidance and warnings of local government and emergency management officials.
- For company updates, resources, videos and additional information, visit duke-energy.com/irma.
- For more tips on general emergency preparedness, visit ready.gov.
- For a hurricane kit checklist, safety tips and information on what to do before, during and after a storm, visit duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/storm-safety.
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 8,800 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.8 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. Its Electric Utilities and Infrastructure business unit serves approximately 7.5 million customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. The company's Gas Utilities and Infrastructure business unit distributes natural gas to approximately 1.6 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its Commercial Renewables business unit operates a growing renewable energy portfolio across the United States.
Duke Energy is a Fortune 125 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 people, innovations, and community and environmental topics. It also offers glimpses into the past and insights into the future of energy.
Contact: Ana Gibbs