Duke Energy tackles outages in Florida; 800,000 restored after Hurricane Irma

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  • 800,000 customers restored; 600,000 still without power

  • More than 3,000 power poles and over 1,100 transformers being replaced

  • Company donates $250,000 to Disaster Relief Fund

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Duke Energy has restored more than half of the customers who lost power as a result of Hurricane Irma – with 800,000 customers back on as of Wednesday afternoon.

A total of 800,000 customers have been restored, but 600,000 Duke Energy customers are still without power in the state. More than 12,000 workers are working to safely and quickly restore service. Duke Energy serves 1.8 million customers in Florida.

"Our crews are making great progress all around our territory," said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida president. "We have set restoration times for our counties and are laser-focused on getting customers back on as quickly and safely as possible. We appreciate the patience our customers have shown during this stressful time."

Sideris added that over 3,000 power poles, more than 1,100 transformers and more than 1,000 miles of wire are being replaced due to storm damage.

Tuesday, the Duke Energy Foundation announced it would donate $250,000 to the Florida Disaster Fund. The fund, administered by the Volunteer Florida Foundation, is the State of Florida's official private fund established to assist Florida's communities in times of disaster.

Times of restoration

The company expects to complete power restoration to essentially all Duke Energy Florida customers in the following areas:

  • By midnight Friday, Sept. 15: The western portion of its service area. This includes Pinellas and Pasco counties
  • By midnight Sunday, Sept. 17: central and northern portions of the service area. This includes Alachua, Bay, Brevard, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Flagler, Franklin, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Leon, Levy, Madison, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Volusia, and Wakulla counties.
  • Restoration in the severely impacted areas of Hardee and Highlands County may extend beyond Sunday due to rebuilding the electrical system that suffered significant damage in those areas.

Our crews are focused on restoring the largest number of customers each day. Some customers will see their service restored much earlier. As crews respond to make repairs and restore service, specific estimated times of restoration will be updated for individual areas and customers. In some cases, service may be delayed for customers where the electrical meter or other customer equipment is damaged and requires repair and inspection.

Due to the heavy volume of outages and technology issues, the company's online reporting tool is not updating properly. Outage numbers on the automated system do not reflect the actual number of customers restored. Until corrected, the company will send out updated outage numbers throughout the day via its online channels.

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

Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Outage reporting and status updates
At any time, customers without power can report their outage by:

  • Texting OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)

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 are hazardous 

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

The Duke Energy News Center serves as a multimedia resource for journalists and features news releases, helpful links, photos and videos. Hosted by Duke Energy, illumination is an online destination for stories about people, innovations, and community and environmental topics. It also offers glimpses into the past and insights into the future of energy.

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