Nearly 8,000 workers mobilized to respond.
Company urges customers to remember safety first and to stay away from downed power lines.
Expect extended restoration times for outages as company prepares for significant damage.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., -- Duke Energy Florida is projecting more than one million power outages associated with damage from Hurricane Irma as the storm nears the state.
"Based on Hurricane Irma's current track, we expect all of our Florida service area to feel the effects of this powerful storm," said Luis Ordaz, Duke Energy Florida storm director. "We will be working as quickly and safely as possible until all customers are restored. We want to thank all of our customers ahead of time for their patience."
Duke Energy is increasing the number of resources coming to Florida. It is initially mobilizing about 8,000 lineworkers, tree professionals, damage assessment and support personnel to safe locations. They will be prepared to respond to outages once it is safe to do so.
Crews left today from Duke Energy locations in the Midwest with a contingency of 1,500 workers to support our restoration efforts.
Duke Energy Florida serves 1.8 million customers in the state.
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.
Duke Energy meteorologists help the company plan and prepare for potential impacts. They continue to closely monitor the movement of Hurricane Irma.
"We are tracking the storm to determine where to place our additional resources," said Max Thompson, Duke Energy meteorologist. "The proper placement of our crews and resources can help provide a safe and rapid response to 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
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