Duke Energy Florida is mobilizing 2,150 line workers and vegetation personnel to safe locations, prepared to respond to outages once Hurricane Matthew reaches Florida. More crews can be added as needed.
Duke Energy is a member of a mutual assistance organization and has agreements with utility contractors to ensure the necessary resources can be brought to Florida from throughout the southeast. These resources include line workers, vegetation management and damage assessment personnel. Duke Energy also provides assistance when storms affect other utilities in other parts of the country.
“Due to the tremendous strength of the storm, our number one concern is the safety of our customers and crews,” said Luis Ordaz, storm director, Duke Energy Florida. “Matthew is a major storm capable of causing significant damage. As we prepare to respond, it’s important our customers take Hurricane Matthew extremely seriously and ensure their families are safe.”
In addition to making safety a priority, customers should also prepare for significant, widespread power outages. Despite extensive system improvements and rigorous tree trimming, strong winds, 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.
Duke Energy Florida has invested nearly $2.4 billion to harden and upgrade its 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.