Duke Energy preparation made for rapid response following Tropical Storm Elsa
As Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall Wednesday along Florida’s northwest coast, Duke Energy crews quickly responded to restore damage and power outages.
Duke Energy strategically staged about 3,000 of its crew members, contractors, tree specialists and other personnel from Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and the Carolinas in advance of the storm. With employees in multiple states, Duke Energy is able to position company resources from other areas not in a storm’s path when severe weather strikes.
“We were ready for the worst-case scenario that could happen when our customers are in the path of a hurricane or tropical storm,” said Todd Fountain, Duke Energy Florida’s storm director. “We are happy that this time the conditions did not result in widespread outages. Still, we want those customers whose service was affected to know we’re working hard for them.”
At the peak of the storm on July 7 at 5 a.m., there were 7,345 customer outages. Crews have also restored more than 28,000 storm outages.
Duke Energy has released employees from the Carolinas who traveled to Florida in advance of the storm so they are available to assist with Elsa-related outages in their home states. Employees from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio will be released later today and prepare to travel home tomorrow.
New technology investments
In addition to year-round storm preparation, Duke Energy also is investing in grid modernization. In 2020, smart, self-healing technology helped to avoid nearly 290,000 extended customer outages in Florida, saving around 18,900,000 outage minutes. This technology serves approximately 45% of our Florida customers and we expect that smart-thinking technologies will serve 80% or more of customers when fully deployed by 2027.
Crews also trim trees and inspect power lines and poles regularly. In many areas, they are replacing older poles with newer, stronger poles: wood to steel and concrete and lattice towers to monopoles.