Duke Energy Florida prepares for more active hurricane season

Published on July 03, 2024 by Dave Kovaleski

© Duke Energy

Duke Energy Florida has been busy getting ready for hurricane season with the goal of responding and restoring power quickly when the next storm hits.

The company has a storm response plan that includes advanced forecasting and damage modeling processes so it can place crews and resources ahead of a storm to respond quickly as outages occur.

Further, Duke Energy Florida maintains a fleet of nearly 4,000 employees and contractors ready to respond to outages when storms strike. In addition, they have alliances with peer utilities to provide additional resources if needed.

Also, Duke Energy Florida is making improvements and upgrades to its systems and lines to enhance its storm response and provide better information when outages do occur. The improvements include upgrading thousands of poles and wires to increase reliability and better withstand storms. Over the past three years, more than 40,000 poles have been hardened through the Storm Protection Plan.

It has also strategically placed outage-prone lines underground in some areas. At present, approximately 48 percent of Duke Energy Florida’s primary power lines are underground. The company plans to install hundreds of miles of underground cable in areas that are identified as the most outage-prone lines.

Duke is also managing vegetation. Crews have completed more than 4,000 miles of maintenance trimming on Duke Energy Florida’s distribution lines and 600 miles of planned work on the transmission side.

Further, the company is installing smart, self-healing technology that can automatically detect power outages and quickly restore power when an outage occurs. During hurricanes Ian, Nicole and Idalia, self-heling technology helped save more than 200 million outage minutes for its customers.

Additionally, the company is expanding the capacity of the electric grid by building new substations, expanding existing substations and installing new or larger circuits to provide reliable service in the growing state. Duke Energy has completed optimization of eight substations, with another 38 on the way.

These investments helped the company achieve its best reliability performance in 2023 in more than a decade. Between 2018 and 2023, the company reduced the average length of a customer outage by 27 percent.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts an above-normal hurricane season with 17 to 25 named storms this season, including 8 to 13 hurricanes, and 4 to 7 of those becoming major hurricanes. That would indicate 30 percent more storm activity compared to the number of storms predicted last year.

Duke Energy Florida supplies electricity to 2 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across a 13,000-square-mile service area in Florida.