Duke Energy urges storm preparedness for 2019 hurricane season

Share This Story

  • Company is prepared for hurricane season; invests in strengthening power delivery systems 

  • Duke Energy meteorologist predicts slightly above-average storm activity

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Hurricane season begins June 1, but Duke Energy prepares for massive storms year-round and urges customers to be prepared, too.

"Early preparation is a key element of keeping you and your family safe during and after a hurricane," said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president. "Skip the long lines, refine your emergency plans, and give yourself plenty of time to do important repairs to fortify your home. We prepare for storms throughout the year and encourage you to do the same to be able to react quickly when a storm threatens your neighborhood." 

Since 2004, the company has invested more than $2 billion in maintaining and strengthening its power delivery systems in Florida. An additional $3.4 billion of investments planned for over the next 10 years will go even further to modernize the grid, making it more resistant to power outages and more secure against threats and disruptions. For customers, that means when a storm hits, the threat of costly and disruptive outages is minimized or even avoided. 

Grid modernization 

In addition to trimming trees and inspecting and replacing wood poles, the company has invested in grid automation and smart grid technologies, which improve service reliability and reduce the length and number of outages.

Duke Energy is building a smart-thinking grid that will increase reliability for all customers by anticipating outages and intelligently rerouting power to speed restoration or avoid outages altogether. Currently, 34% of customers in Florida receive smart-thinking grid technology and the goal is to be at 80% in 10 years. The technology helped avoid more than 200,000 customer interruptions in 2018.

The company is also using data to strategically identify the most outage-prone power lines and move them underground. This can significantly reduce power outages and momentary service interruptions, and it can reduce costs and quicken restoration time after a major event for all customers. 

As this year's hurricane season approaches, Duke Energy's meteorologist predicts slightly above-average storm activity. Experts are warning residents to pay more attention to predictions about storm surge and flooding than about wind strength. Read more in the illumination story.

The following tips can help you and your family stay safe if severe weather strikes and the power goes out:

Safety around power lines 

  • Consider all downed power lines and anything touching them energized and HAZARDOUS. Do not go near them and report the problem to Duke Energy by calling 800.228.8485.
  • Report all power line hazards to Duke Energy at 800.228.8485, or contact your local emergency services department or agency.  
  • Stay away from downed or sagging power lines, and do not touch anything that is on or near a power line (i.e., trees or tree limbs, cars, ladders). 
  • Keep children and family pets away from areas where lines may have fallen (backyards, fields, school yards, etc.). 
  • 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.

Generator safety 

  • 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 hazardous for crews making repairs. 
  • Operate your generator outside. Never operate it inside a building or garage. 
  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure safe and proper operation. 
  • Always have a licensed electrician install stationary or standby emergency generators. 
  • To avoid electrocution, plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. This is the safest way to use a generator. Duke Energy does not recommend connecting a generator directly to a breaker panel, fuse box or meter box because of the hazard it can create for utility lineworkers. 
  • Obey all local, state and national electrical and fire codes. 
  • Store gasoline in approved fuel containers and out of children's reach. 
  • Keep children away from generators.  
  • Have a fully charged, properly rated fire extinguisher (i.e., rated for electrical and gas fires) ready at all times. 
  • Never replenish fuel in a generator when it is running. 
  • Call an electrician to repair a generator. Never attempt to repair it yourself.

Flooding and electrical safety 

  • 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 certification from your local building inspection authority before power can be restored. Duke Energy can provide a free, no-obligation referral to a local reputable electrician at 888.999.8856.

Outage reporting 

Customers can report power outages in three easy ways:

  • Online at duke-energy.com/outages 
  • Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)
  • Call the automated outage-reporting system at 800.228.8485

For more information on how to prepare for storm season, and how Duke Energy can help, please visit duke-energy.com/StormTips. For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter (@DukeEnergy) and Facebook (Duke Energy).

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 1.8 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 the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers' experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit's regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects. 

Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2019 "World's Most Admired Companies" list, and Forbes' 2019 "America's Best Employers" list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy's illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook

Contact: Peveeta Persaud
Office: 727.820.5592 | 24-Hour: 800.559.3853
Twitter: @DE_PeveetaP