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In Florida, all eyes on Hurricane Matthew; Duke Energy is closely monitoring the powerful storm
Emergency response plan and storm center activated
New technology and infrastructure improvements strengthen grid and improve reliability
Company urges customers to be prepared
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Duke Energy Florida is closely monitoring Hurricane Matthew. Although current forecasts do not project a direct impact to Florida, the company urges customers to ensure they are prepared because the exact path of this powerful storm is uncertain.
Forecasts indicate a good chance for strong winds and heavy downpours on Florida’s Atlantic Coast by Thursday afternoon. Gusts could reach up to 40 to 50 mph based on the size and strength of Hurricane Matthew. In Duke Energy’s Florida service territory, tropical force winds are currently forecasted for the Orlando, Apopka and Gainesville areas.
As part of its preparation, the company is also reviewing supplies and staffing models in Florida and the storm center is activated.
“Duke Energy Florida line workers and additional contractor crews are prepared to respond quickly, as we did last month with Hermine, should customers lose power as a result of this deadly, powerful storm,” said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy state president – Florida. “If the potential impact lessens, the company will make crews available to any utility in Florida or beyond who may need help.”
Due to the projected path, Duke Energy’s sister utilities in the Carolinas are also closely monitoring the storm and preparing for possible impacts, which may be more significant.
Despite extensive system improvements and rigorous tree trimming, wind-blown debris and flooding 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.
New technology investments prevent outages
Duke Energy Florida has invested nearly $2.4 billion to harden and upgrade our system since the 2004 hurricanes. In addition to trimming trees and replacing wood poles with steel or concrete, the company invested in grid automation and Smart Grid devices, which improve service reliability and reduce the length and number of outages year round.
Following Hermine, the new Smart Grid technology prevented 25,000 Duke Energy Florida customers from outages – thwarting more than 3 million customer minutes of power interruptions during the storm. So far this year, grid automation prevented more than 10 million minutes of interruption. Today, more than 20 percent of all Duke Energy Florida customers benefit from the technology. The company continues to expand the investment and plans to have Smart Grid devices installed on lines serving 35 percent of customers by mid-2017.
Customers should be prepared
Customers are encouraged to develop their own hurricane plans and prepare in advance of a storm. Many homes may need to refresh supplies used last month during Hermine.
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.
Do not bring a generator inside. Such equipment should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. 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.
For a “Hurricane Kit Checklist,” important safety tips and more information on what to do before, during and after a storm, visit www.duke-energy.com/storm, then click “Outage & Storm Information” under Duke Energy Florida.
Outage reporting and status updates
At any time, customers without power can report their outage by:
Going online at duke-energy.com or by 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.
Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.