ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) began planning for Hurricane Dorian in Florida more than a week ago and has put nearly 6,500 transmission and distribution personnel in place to support power restoration, which is nearly three times the typical number of crews in the state.
This includes more than 4,300 transmission and distribution line personnel and more than 1,500 transmission and distribution vegetation management workers, as well as hundreds of support personnel such as nurses, mechanics, field coordinators, and logistics specialists.
Hurricane Dorian is now a Category 4 hurricane. It’s impact still poses a significant threat to Florida. This strong and dangerous storm will bring tropical force winds that will cause significant damage to our infrastructure and widespread power outages due to flying debris, fallen trees, downed poles and lines. It could also bring storm surge and flash flooding, which can potentially cause substantial damage to customers’ homes and businesses, as well as our electrical infrastructure equipment and facilities.
Restoring power after a storm can be extremely challenging for repair crews, as travel and work conditions can be impacted by high winds and widespread flooding – making repair work lengthy and difficult.
During major weather events, as soon as it’s safe for crews to travel they will begin restoration efforts. During this time, we’re also conducting a comprehensive assessment of all damage to determine which crews, equipment and supplies are needed.
Crew resources are being staged in safe locations in The Villages, Davenport and Clearwater to be ready to respond to outages expected from Hurricane Dorian as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Duke Energy has mutual assistance agreements with other utilities, through the Southeastern Electric Exchange, to ensure resources are secured and deployed in a timely manner.
Evacuations are underway in several areas and communities across the state. Duke Energy urges customers in the projected path of the storm to pay close attention to information and advice from state and local emergency management officials.
Duke Energy is ready to respond to the impacts of Hurricane Dorian and urges customers to be prepared, too.
· If rising water threatens your home — or if you evacuate your home — turn off your power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box.
· Electric current passes easily through water, so stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires. Don't drive over — and don't stand near — downed power lines.
· Downed lines will be hard to see in the rain and can potentially be hidden in standing water. If you encounter large pools of standing water, stop, back up and choose another path.
· If your home or business is flooded, Duke Energy can't reconnect power until the electrical system has been inspected by a licensed electrician. If there is damage, an electrician will need to make repairs and obtain verification from your local building inspection authority before power can be restored.
· Maintain a supply of water and non-perishable food.
· Keep a portable radio or TV, or NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather forecasts and important information from state and local officials.
· Charge cellphones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of the storm to stay connected to important safety and response information. Consider purchasing portable chargers and make sure they are fully charged as well.
· 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.
· Report all power line hazards by calling Duke Energy at 800-228-8485.
· Never bring a generator indoors. Generators should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.
Before the storm hits, customers should note how to report power outages. Customers who experience an outage during the storm can report it by:
· Visiting duke-energy.com on a desktop computer or mobile device.
· Texting OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply).
· Using the Duke Energy mobile app – Download the Duke Energy App from a smartphone via Apple Store or Google Play
· Calling the automated outage-reporting system at 800.228.8485
Media contact: Peveeta Persaud