Hurricane season began June 1, but Duke Energy prepares for massive storms year-round and urges customers to be prepared, too.
"We prepare for storms throughout the year and encourage you to do the same to be able to react quickly when a storm threatens your neighborhood," says Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida state president
Since 2004, the company has invested more than $2 billion in maintaining and strengthening its power delivery systems in Florida. An additional $3.4 billion of investments planned for over the next 10 years will go even further to modernize the grid, making it more resistant to power outages and more secure against threats and disruptions. For customers, that means when a storm hits, the threat of costly and disruptive outages is minimized or even avoided.
In addition to trimming trees and inspecting and replacing wood poles, the company has invested in grid automation and smart grid technologies, which improve service reliability and reduce the length and number of outages.
Duke Energy is building a smart-thinking grid that will increase reliability for all customers by anticipating outages and intelligently rerouting power to speed restoration or avoid outages altogether. Currently, 34% of customers in Florida receive smart-thinking grid technology and the goal is to be at 80% in 10 years. The technology helped avoid more than 200,000 customer interruptions in 2018.
The company is also using data to strategically identify the most outage-prone power lines and move them underground. This can significantly reduce power outages and momentary service interruptions, and it can reduce costs and quicken restoration time after a major event for all customers.
As this year's hurricane season approaches, Duke Energy's meteorologist predicts slightly above-average storm activity. Experts are warning residents to pay more attention to predictions about storm surge and flooding than about wind strength. Read more in Duke Energy's illumination story.