Duke Energy Urges Customers to Prepare for Hurricane Season

A satellite image of a hurricane.
WikiImages / Pixabay

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 6 to 10 hurricanes.

Duke Energy works all year to prepare for hurricanes and other severe storms and modernize its power delivery system.

“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.

Ping-it technology

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.

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.

Outage reporting

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:

  • 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).

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.

Prepared by Duke Energy.