Duke Energy hurricane season resiliency plan relies heavily on smart, self-healing tech

Published on June 06, 2024 by Chris Galford

© Duke Energy

Hurricane season 2024 is about to begin, and with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting a more active season than normal, Duke Energy this week emphasized its own storm response plan, including a massed number of workers and wide-scale deployment of smart, self-healing technologies.

In two years, Duke more than doubled the number of customers served by smart restoration systems. At this point, nearly 50 percent of its customers benefit from automated restoration technologies and, according to the company’s figures, they helped avoid more than 1.5 million outages last year alone.

On top of this, it recently finished construction of seven grid control centers across its six-state service area as part of a multi-year modernization project. Through these facilities, Duke will be able to better manage its crews and overall outage response and monitoring, thanks to greater control given to operators. These additions were coupled with thousands of pole upgrades, undergrounding of other lines, vegetation management and more.

“We understand the importance of reliable power, especially when severe weather strikes,” said Scott Batson, Duke Energy senior vice president and chief power grid officer. “We are prepared for this year’s storm season, with thousands of line and vegetation workers, and advanced technologies and equipment ready to respond to storm-related outages when customers count on us the most.”

Presently, the company reports more than 17,000 employees and contractors ready to respond to storm-induced outages. Partnerships with other utilities could also help during the worst moments.

Still, Duke emphasized that customers should have their own plans and preparations ready before the hurricanes strike. The NOAA noted that this season could have as many as 25 named storms, and perhaps as many as 13 of those will be hurricanes. In all, this year is forecasted to be around 30 percent more active than last year, where storms are concerned.