Duke Energy preparation made for rapid response following Tropical Storm Elsa

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – As Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall Wednesday along Florida’s northwest coast, Duke Energy crews quickly responded to restore damage and power outages.

Duke Energy strategically staged about 3,000 of its crew members, contractors, tree specialists and other personnel from Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and the Carolinas in advance of the storm. With employees in multiple states, Duke Energy is able to position company resources from other areas not in a storm’s path when severe weather strikes.

“We were ready for the worst-case scenario that could happen when our customers are in the path of a hurricane or tropical storm,” said Todd Fountain, Duke Energy Florida’s storm director. “We are happy that this time the conditions did not result in widespread outages. Still, we want those customers whose service was affected to know we’re working hard for them.”

At the peak of the storm on July 7 at 5 a.m., there were 7,345 customer outages. Crews have also restored more than 28,000 storm outages.

Duke Energy has released employees from the Carolinas who traveled to Florida in advance of the storm so they are available to assist with Elsa-related outages in their home states. Employees from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio will be released later today and prepare to travel home tomorrow.

Safety reminders after the storm

  • 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 using the following phone number: 800.228.8485.
  • If a power line falls across a car that 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 that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
  • Never bring a generator indoors. Generators should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed. 
  • 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.

Outage reporting

Customers who experience an outage 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).
  • 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).

New technology investments

In addition to year-round storm preparation, Duke Energy also is investing in grid modernization. In 2020, smart, self-healing technology helped to avoid nearly 290,000 extended customer outages in Florida, saving around 18,900,000 outage minutes. This technology serves approximately 45% of our Florida customers and we expect that smart-thinking technologies will serve 80% or more of customers when fully deployed by 2027.

Crews also trim trees and inspect power lines and poles regularly. In many areas, they are replacing older poles with newer, stronger poles: wood to steel and concrete and lattice towers to monopoles.

Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns a diverse generation mix of natural gas, coal and renewables, providing about 10,200 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.9 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,500 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to operate or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2021 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Media Contact: Allison Barker
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Cell: 304.553.9104
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