CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Memorial Day weekend marked the unofficial start of summer, and with it, comes summer storm season and the potential for power outages.
Duke Energy is ready to respond
"We have more than 5,000 power line workers across six states who often face severe weather and other hazards every day to respond to the expected and unexpected," said Keith Trent, Duke Energy executive vice president and chief operating officer. "With an average tenure of 20 to 30 years, this team's collective experience and vast expertise in outage response makes them among the best in the industry. They have a deep commitment to our customers and a passion for their craft; they are ready to respond to whatever Mother Nature delivers."
While the focus on power outage response is greatest during the summer storm season when popup thunderstorms can leave thousands of customers in the dark in minutes -- Duke Energy's team of employees works year-round to maintain the power grid that serves more than 7 million customers across six states.
"Hardening the power grid to withstand severe weather is a priority for utilities across the nation," Trent said. "Often times, basic core maintenance activities, such as tree trimming, pole inspections and outage followup, prove to be the best defense against storm-related outages."
Core maintenance activities
- Vegetation Management – Tree branches coming in contact with power lines is the number one cause of flickering lights and extended power outages, especially when combined with summer thunderstorms and winds. To reduce the chance of outages, Duke Energy works to keep more than 300,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines clear of trees and other overgrown foliage. To ensure tree health, Duke Energy follows pruning techniques established by the American National Standards Institute for tree care maintenance and operations.
- Pole Inspections – Duke Energy is responsible for maintaining more than 5 million wooden poles. This requires routine inspections where we visually inspect poles for loose hardware or damage. Additionally, our crews mark poles and other equipment that need repair as they complete work in the field. Any issues we find that present an immediate or near-term safety or reliability concern are repaired as soon as possible. Other repairs are marked as general maintenance and scheduled for a later date.
- Outage Followup – Duke Energy proactively investigates equipment associated with recurring customer outages to determine causes and other trends that may indicate upgrades or other maintenance is needed.
"Even with ongoing inspection and maintenance programs, storms and power outages will happen, so it's important that our customers know what to do to stay safe and reduce inconveniences," said Trent.
If you experience a power outage, report it by calling the company's automated outage-reporting system for your specific service area:
- Florida – 800-228-8485
- Indiana – 800-343-3525
- Kentucky / Ohio – 800-543-5599
- North Carolina (Duke Energy) – 800-769-3766
- South Carolina (Duke Energy) – 800-769-3766
- Duke Energy Progress (North and South Carolina) – 800-419-6356
Using these automated systems is the quickest and easiest way for customers to report their outages. By entering a phone number or Duke Energy account number, the customer's outage will be recorded in the company's system and included in restoration plans. Customers can continue to use these resources to get up-to-date information about their outages once restoration times are determined.
Duke Energy offers the following tips:
- Check supplies and be sure to have the following items in an emergency response kit: portable radio with fresh batteries, flashlight, first-aid supplies, canned or packaged food that can be prepared without cooking or refrigeration and several days’ supply of drinking water.
- If someone in your home has special needs or relies on electric-powered life support equipment, determine now the actions you’d take in the event of an extended power outage (i.e., relocate your family member or have a backup generator available.). And encourage other family members, friends and neighbors to do the same.
- As severe weather begins to move through the area, be watchful for downed or sagging power lines. Consider all lines energized as well as trees or limbs in contact with lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy and your local police department. 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.
- Visit Duke Energy’s storm preparedness website www.duke-energy.com/storms for links to outage reporting tools, safety information and tips
- Follow these social media accounts to get up-to-date information about outages and restoration efforts:
- Check out Duke Energy’s mobile-enhanced website, which makes it easier than ever to report an outage via your Smartphone or mobile device.
Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with more than $110 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.2 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international 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: www.duke-energy.com.
The media is welcome to speak to members of our line crews, as available. Please call the 24-hour media line for assistance in scheduling interviews.