Duke Energy ramps up Irma power restoration and damage assessment in Florida

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  • Power outages currently total 1.2 million; 100,000 customers restored in early stages

  • Restoration could take a week or longer for hardest-hit areas as the system is rebuilt

  • More than 9,000 workers focused on Duke Energy Florida restoration

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- More than 9,000 Duke Energy workers and additional personnel are mobilized to respond to power outages and assess damage left in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Florida.

Duke Energy outages totaled 1.2 million in Florida, with nearly 100,000 customers restored in the early stages by mid-day Monday.

"We are surveying damaged areas and beginning to restore power today for our Florida customers," said Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris. "Irma hit us hard, and now it's time for us to swing back. Our crews are up to the challenging work ahead, including rebuilding where necessary. We will not stop until we get everyone back on."

Duke Energy Florida serves 1.8 million customers in the state. Outages are spread throughout Duke Energy's territory in the state. The hardest hit areas: Pinellas, Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Highlands counties.

The company strategically staged power line workers, tree professionals, damage assessors and support personnel at multiple sites in Florida and nearby Georgia in advance of the hurricane, giving repair teams rapid access to Florida's hardest-hit areas.

Damage assessments determine where the company will further deploy its workers, equipment and other resources to begin the complex job of power restoration.

For company updates, resources, videos and additional information, visit https://news.duke-energy.com/irma.

Outage reporting and status updates

At any time, customers without power can report their outage by:

Going online at www.duke-energy.com

  • Texting OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)
  • Calling the automated outage-reporting system at 800.228.8485

Restoration process

After assessing damage, Duke Energy will first restore power to critical infrastructure – such as emergency centers, fire stations, hospitals, water treatment and other public safety and health facilities.

The company simultaneously will safely repair major power transmission lines, damaged substations and other large-scale electrical equipment to restore power to the largest number of customers, as quickly as possible.

Work to restore power to small pockets of customers will soon follow the large-scale repairs. For customers in the hardest hit areas that require rebuilding the system, this may take a week or more. Read more for further details.

Duke Energy is working closely with local emergency management officials and public safety agencies in multiple Florida cities and towns, ensuring a coordinated and collaborative damage assessment and power restoration process.

Downed power lines dangerous 

Duke Energy reminds customers and the public to stay away from downed power lines that have fallen or are sagging, and to consider all power lines – and trees, limbs or anything in contact with power lines – energized and dangerous.

If a power line falls across a vehicle 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, try 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.

Flooding safety tips

  • Turn off your power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box if rising water threatens your home or if you evacuate your home.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires. DO NOT drive over or stand near downed power lines. Electric current passes easily through water.
  • Never replace a fuse or touch a circuit breaker with wet hands or while standing on a wet or damp surface.
  • Do not try to drive through flooded areas; most flood-related deaths occur in automobiles.
  • 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.

Customers using generators

If you use a generator at home to provide power until your service is restored, please watch for utility crews and turn the generator off when crews are in your area. The electrical load on the power lines can be dangerous for crews making repairs. The excess electricity created by a generator can feed back onto the electric lines, severely injuring a line technician who might be working on a power line, believing it to be de-energized.

Read other tips for using a generator.

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

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