Duke Energy Florida adds more staging sites; upwards of 1,200 workers ready to respond to Hurricane Hermine

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Duke Energy Florida is staging more than 1,200 workers from Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky at three strategic locations to ensure a rapid response to service areas that will likely be affected by Hurricane Hermine.

In addition to the original Live Oak location in Suwannee County, two other staging sites have been established in Apalachicola and Monticello, in Franklin and Jefferson counties, respectively. This will allow the resources to be staged near the most likely impacted areas within Duke Energy’s service territories to respond to any outages, downed lines and other emergencies that may occur.

“Duke Energy continues to closely monitor Hurricane Hermine,” said Luis Ordaz, storm director, Duke Energy – Florida. “The company’s detailed storm response plan is designed to be flexible and allow resources to be deployed when and where they are needed most.”

The company prepared for the storm in advance by checking equipment, supplies and inventories. Duke Energy has spent more than $640 million over the last five years and nearly $1.4 billion since 2004 maintaining and strengthening its energy delivery system. These investments include trimming trees, replacing wood transmission structures with steel or concrete, and installing grid automation and Smart Grid devices that help to improve service reliability and reduce both the length and number of outages.

Despite system upgrades, maintaince and rigorous tree trimming, wind-blown debris can cause power outages. When outages occur for any reason, Duke Energy is committed to restoring power as safely and quickly as possible, while keeping customers informed throughout the process.

Storm surges and flooding are also concerns with this storm. Duke Energy Florida offers the following electrical safety guidelines when coping with flooding:

  • 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.

  • 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 are encouraged to develop their own hurricane plans and prepare in advance of a storm.

  • Check supplies of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc.

  • Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio is on hand.

  • Keep generators outside. Such equipment should only be operated in well-ventilated areas and never indoors. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.

  • Check on family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs or who are elderly, to ensure they have necessary emergency supplies, and determine now what action they would take in the event of an extended power outage.

  • Develop a “Hurricane Kit Checklist.” Visit www.duke-energy.com/storm, then click “Outage & Storm Information” under Duke Energy Florida for important safety tips and more information on what to do before, during and after a storm,

Outage reporting and status updates

Customers who are without power can report outages in several ways:

  • Visiting our mobile website at m.duke-energy.com

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

  • Calling the automated outage-reporting system at 800.228.8485

For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter (@DukeEnergy) and Facebook (Duke Energy).

About Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida owns and operates a diverse generation mix, including renewables, providing about 9,100 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 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 regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.4 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 24 million people. Its Commercial Portfolio 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 an S&P 100 Stock Index 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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Media contact: Peveeta Persaud

Twitter: @DE_PeveetaP