Nearly 8,000 Duke Energy workers ready to swing into action in Florida after Irma passes

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  • Power outages could exceed 1 million and last a week or longer

  • Damage assessment will be important to the power restoration process

  • Customers should be mindful of flooding conditions

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Nearly 8,000 Duke Energy workers and additional resources will be mobilized, equipped and ready to begin – once conditions safely permit – what is expected to be a lengthy restoration process to repair possibly more than 1 million power outages across our Florida service territory resulting from Hurricane Irma.  

"We are ready to mobilize a small army of line workers, tree professionals, damage assessors and support personnel who will begin work as soon as we safely can," said Luis Ordaz, Duke Energy Florida storm director. "We expect significant power outages and restoration in some areas could take a week or longer. We will not rest until we get the lights back on for everyone."
Duke Energy Florida serves 1.8 million customers in the state.

Crews will wait to begin their work until wind speeds diminish to the point at which it is safe to operate hundreds of aerial "bucket" trucks and other equipment without endangering workers. 

The restoration process

The power restoration process also involves a comprehensive damage assessment during which assessors will survey the company's massive Florida electricity distribution system to assess the damage, which is expected to be severe and widespread as a result of strong winds, downed trees, wind-blown debris and flooding.

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

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.

At the same time,  the company 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. We will not stop until all customers are restored. Read more for further details.

Duke Energy thanks community partners

A number of community partners – including fire stations, shopping centers and other facilities – have generously offered their parking lots and buildings to Duke Energy to serve as "base camps" to stage repair trucks and other equipment.

"Duke Energy greatly appreciates our community partners' willingness to assist us during the critical power restoration process" said storm director Ordaz.

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 no 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.

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

  • Create (or update) an emergency supply kit. The kit should include everything an individual or family would need for at least two weeks, especially medicines and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm strikes.
  • Fill your vehicle with gas and get cash. ATMs and credit card machines may not work if there are extensive outages.
  • Keep a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather forecasts and important information from state and local officials.
  • Have a plan to move family members – especially those with special needs – to a safe, alternative location in case an extended power outage occurs or evacuation is required.
  • 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.
  • Follow the direction, guidance and warnings of local government and emergency management officials.

Additional resources

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

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

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

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