Duke Energy crews responded to massive customer power outages after two back-to-back hurricanes struck the company’s southeast U.S. service area in fall 2018.
In September, Hurricane Florence made landfall and slowly moved inland through North Carolina and South Carolina, cutting power to more than 1.8 million Duke Energy customers and causing historic flooding, widespread structural damage and multiple highway closures.
Though the flooding and road closures presented major challenges, repair crews restored power to nearly 1.2 million customers within three days after the hurricane’s landfall, and most of the remaining customers within seven days.
In advance of the hurricane, Duke Energy staged more than 20,000 repair workers – its own and those provided by other utility companies nationwide – in what was Duke Energy’s largest storm resource mobilization ever.
Duke Energy earned the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) “Emergency Recovery Award” for the company’s power restoration efforts after Hurricane Florence.
“Duke Energy’s crews worked tirelessly in hazardous conditions to quickly and safely restore power,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “They are truly deserving of this award.”
In October, Hurricane Michael ripped through the Florida Panhandle with 155 mph winds and record storm surges before speeding north into Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina as a downgraded – but still powerful – tropical storm. In Florida, the category 4 hurricane destroyed entire Gulf Coast communities, demolishing houses, apartment buildings, shopping centers and much of the electric grid.
Duke Energy crews restored power to more than 75,000 Florida customers in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
They also began the longer-term task of rebuilding obliterated sections of the Panhandle’s electric grid, including transmission towers, utility poles, substations and transformers.
One day after striking Florida, what became Tropical Storm Michael hit the Carolinas, cutting power to more than 1 million Duke Energy customers, most of them in North Carolina. More than 10,000 repair workers restored power to most customers within five days.
“It was a challenging month-long period for our customers and employees, who endured back-to-back historic storms," said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy’s chief distribution officer.