Duke Energy readies power line workers for summer storms

Duke Energy has some 5,000 power line workers across six states ready to respond to disasters that could affect power delivery, according to the utility.

Officials with the Charlotte, N.C.-based power company said that while the utility is ready to respond to sudden severe weather in the summertime, the best defense against a power grid-damaging disaster is preventative maintenance carried out all year.

Duke Energy’s core maintenance activities for its transmission and distribution systems include tree trimming, pole inspections and power outage follow-ups.

Vegetation Management – Tree branches coming in contact with power lines is the number one cause of flickering lights and extended power outages, especially when combined with summer thunderstorms and winds. To reduce the chance of outages, Duke Energy works to keep more than 300,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines clear of trees and other overgrown foliage. To ensure tree health, Duke Energy follows pruning techniques established by the American National Standards Institute for tree care maintenance and operations.

Pole Inspections – Duke Energy is responsible for maintaining more than 5 million wooden poles. This requires routine inspections where we visually inspect poles for loose hardware or damage. Additionally, our crews mark poles and other equipment that need repair as they complete work in the field. Any issues we find that present an immediate or near-term safety or reliability concern are repaired as soon as possible. Other repairs are marked as general maintenance and scheduled for a later date.

Power Outage Follow-up – Duke Energy proactively investigates equipment associated with recurring customer outages to determine causes and other trends that may indicate upgrades or other maintenance is needed.

Duke Energy’s regulated utility operations serve about 7.2 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest.

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