ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - Duke Energy meteorologists are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Erika to determine its path and if the system will have any impact on its Florida service area.
While weather forecasts and models remain uncertain about Erika's exact path and intensity, Duke Energy's line technicians, service crews and other personnel are available throughout the company's service area and are ready to respond to outages and emergencies, if they occur.
In addition, Duke Energy contractor personnel from other areas will arrive over the weekend to assist.
Duke Energy will provide additional updates and messages as the weather system evolves.
The company has a detailed storm response plan. As part of our preparation, Duke Energy personnel are checking equipment, supplies and inventories to ensure there are adequate materials to make repairs and restore power. Examples of actions taken: supplies inventoried, call-out lists reviewed, contractor crews contacted, equipment readied, etc.
A recent survey of Florida customers found that nearly seven out of 10 customers don't have hurricane supplies, or haven't put together a preparation kit in at least two years. Duke Energy urges customers to:
- Check supplies of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc.
- Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio is on hand.
- Not use a gas grill or generator inside. Such equipment should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.
- Check on family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs or who are elderly, to ensure they have necessary emergency supplies.
- Determine now what action they would take in the event of an extended power outage.
For more information on how to prepare for severe weather, hurricane safety kits and safety tips, visit www.duke-energy.com.
Potential for Flooding
In addition to power outages, significant rainfall may cause flooding in some areas; especially areas that have already received substantial rainfall over the past few weeks.
- 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.
- Never replace a fuse or touch a circuit breaker with wet hands, or while standing on a wet or damp surface.
- If your home or business is flooded, Duke Energy cannot reconnect power until the electrical system has been inspected by a licensed electrician. If there is damage, an electrician will need to make necessary repairs and obtain verification from your local building inspection authority before power can be restored.
Reporting power outages
Customers who experience an outage should call the automated outage-reporting system at 1-800-228-8485.
Customers can also report an outage or view current outages online at: http://bit.ly/reportDEFoutage.
Additional storm information is available at: http://bit.ly/DEFstorm.
Duke Energy will provide updates on its social media channels to keep customers informed if significant outages occur.
- Duke Energy on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DukeEnergy
- Duke Energy on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DukeEnergy
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.
Restoring power after a storm can be challenging, as travel conditions are poor. Before power can be restored, crews first assess damage and determine which crews, equipment and supplies will be needed to make repairs. Because of this, customers may see damage assessors patrolling their neighborhoods before crews arrive to begin work.
Crews prioritize work to ensure the largest number of customers are restored as quickly as possible. Essential services, such as hospitals and emergency response facilities, are the first priority.
If you lose power, please turn off as many appliances and electronics as possible. This helps with restoration efforts because it reduces the immediate demand on power lines when power is restored.
Once your power is restored, please wait a few minutes before turning your equipment back on.
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 13,000-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. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.3 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 duke-energy.com.