Duke Energy urges customers to prepare for hurricane season
Company is strengthening electric infrastructure to reduce outages and improve resiliency.
June 1 marks the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season and serves as an important reminder to take steps now to prepare for hurricanes and other severe weather to keep your family safe and protect your property.
The 2021 Atlantic season runs through Nov. 30. Duke Energy meteorologists forecast 20 storms and nine hurricanes for 2021, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts 13 to 20 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes.
Duke Energy works all year to prepare for hurricanes and other severe storms and modernize its power delivery system. The improvements increase reliability and resiliency, strengthen the grid against severe weather and hurricanes, and provide for better customer service.
"We've been making upgrades across our system to build a stronger and smarter power grid to serve our customers," said Scott Batson, senior vice president and Duke Energy's chief distribution officer. "Our crews are ready to respond when the next hurricane strikes. The improvements we have made, and will continue to make, will provide real benefits to customers and communities and help us restore power faster when they count on us most."
In addition to trimming trees and inspecting and replacing wires and wood poles, the company has invested in grid automation and smart technologies to reduce the duration and number of outages and restore service faster when outages do occur.
Duke Energy's smart-thinking grid automatically detects outages and intelligently reroutes power to speed restoration or avoid outages altogether.
Self-healing technology helped to avoid nearly 600,000 extended customer outages in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida in 2020, saving more than 1 million hours of total outage time. Over the next few years, Duke Energy expects to install enough self-healing technology to serve most customers.
After a storm, Duke Energy crews must physically inspect miles of power line to ensure everyone's power is restored. It's time consuming, but Duke Energy crews can now use a technology called Ping-it to remotely check that service has been restored following repairs. Ping-it sends a signal to each meter in a few seconds to confirm repairs were successful. This saves time and frees up crews to help other customers. Duke Energy has installed more than 8.5 million smart meters, providing new technology to better serve customers in six states.
Please visit illumination for additional information on how Duke Energy is preparing for hurricane season.
Important safety steps
Duke Energy has made changes to the way it responds to major storms to promote the safety of crews and communities during COVID-19. Many of those process modifications and improvements will continue during the 2021 storm season. For more information, please see dukeenergyupdates.com.
The safety of our customers and communities is important. Duke Energy encourages customers to have a plan in place to respond to an extended power outage after a hurricane or other severe weather. Below are some tips:
Before the storm
- 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, non-perishable foods and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm hits. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has relaxed some of its guidance for vaccinated individuals, an emergency kit should still include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, bar or liquid soap, and face coverings aligned with CDC guidance.
- 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.
After the storm
- 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 other 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 is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
- If you need to go to a disaster shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 outreach on the status of a power outage they may experience. Customers who experience an outage during a storm can report it the following ways:
- Visit duke-energy.com on a desktop computer or mobile device.
- Use the Duke Energy mobile app – Download the Duke Energy App from a smartphone via Apple Store or Google Play.
- 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, a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America's largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 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 27,500 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to operate or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2021 "World's Most Admired Companies" list and Forbes' "America's Best Employers" list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy's illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.