CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Memorial Day weekend is the traditional beginning of summer. It’s also the beginning of what forecasters predict will be an active hurricane season.
Duke Energy encourages its customers to prepare for hurricanes and other severe storms to protect their families and property during the hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects another active hurricane season with 14 to 21 named storms. Of those storms, they estimate 6 to 10 could be hurricanes with 3 to 6 of those to be a Category 3 or higher with winds of 111 mph or greater.
If you live in coastal North Carolina, South Carolina or Florida, ready.gov urges you to have a plan. If you live inland in those states, major hurricanes often bring high winds and heavy rain. You should prepare, too.
As part of a path to net-zero and advancing its grid, Duke Energy makes improvements throughout the year to increase reliability and prevent outages across its six-state service area for its customers. These improvements are especially important during hurricane season to help reduce the number and length of outages for the communities it serves.
“Our core business goal is it to strengthen the grid to reduce power outages and advance the infrastructure to restore power faster when the next storm strikes,” said Scott Batson, chief distribution officer. “We have thousands of dedicated line technicians, tree workers and support teams ready to respond safely throughout hurricane season and beyond when our customers count on us most.”
Duke Energy has a comprehensive storm response plan built upon decades of experience and improvement. Advanced forecasting and damage modeling processes help the company strategically place crews, support resources and equipment ahead of the storm to respond quickly as outages occur. And partnerships among Duke Energy and peer utilities provide additional resources to shorten response times and get communities back on their feet faster. This collaboration is increasingly important as utilities face storms that are growing in frequency and severity.
Grid strengthening work further enhances Duke Energy’s storm response. The company installs stronger poles and upgrades wires, places outage-prone lines underground, trims vegetation near power lines and installs self-healing technology that can automatically detect power outages and reroute power to other lines to restore power faster. In 2021, self-healing technology helped Duke Energy avoid more than 700,000 extended customer outages, saving more than 1.1 million hours of total lost outage time.
In addition to high winds, major storms also cause flooding that can disrupt service. Duke Energy has reinforced flood barriers and relocated equipment at more than 13 substations in the Carolinas. Additionally, Duke Energy has proactively prepared all year to ensure it has an adequate inventory of material to respond to storms this season as the country deals with supply chain issues.
Just as Duke Energy prioritizes the safety of its crews and communities, it also encourages its customers to do the same for themselves by having a plan in place in case they experience an extended power outage after severe weather. Below are some recommended safety tips:
- Create (or update) an emergency supply kit to save valuable time later. The kit should include everything an individual or family would need for at least two weeks, especially medicines, water, nonperishable foods and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm hits.
- Keep a portable radio or TV or a NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather forecasts and important information from state and local officials.
- Charge cellphones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of storms to stay connected to important safety and response information. Consider purchasing portable chargers and make sure they are fully charged as well.
- Maintain 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.
- Review insurance policies and include extra copies of the policies and other important documents in your emergency supply kit (ideally in a waterproof container).
- Pet owners should arrange to stay at evacuation shelters that accept pets, friends' or family members' homes, or pet-friendly hotels.
- 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.
- If a power line falls across a car that you are in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or another 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 touches the car when your feet touch the ground.
For more tips 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). A checklist serves as a helpful guide, but it's critical before, during and after a storm to follow the instructions and warnings of emergency management officials in your area.
While residents of coastal areas, including Florida and the Carolinas, are at most risk of being affected by hurricanes, such storms also can bring damaging high winds and rain inland.
Before the storm hits, customers should contact us to make sure their contact information is up to date and their communication preferences are noted, so they receive proactive updates on the status of a power outage they may experience. Customers who experience an outage during a storm can report it the following ways:
- Use the Duke Energy mobile app – Download the Duke Energy App from a smartphone via Apple Store or Google Play.
- Visit duke-energy.com on a desktop computer or mobile device.
- Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply).
- Call the automated outage-reporting system for your utility:
Customer service specialists will be available to manage customer calls should the need arise, with more than 1,500 additional corporate responders from across all Duke Energy jurisdictions available to assist as needed.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Media contact: Keith Richardson