Duke Energy’s multiyear grid improvement initiative advanced significantly through 2018, providing increased benefits to customers and demonstrating the value of smart technologies during historic storms that impacted the company’s service area.
Duke Energy is making strategic, data-driven investments across its six-state service area to improve reliability, strengthen the grid against cyber and physical threats, expand solar and innovative technologies, and provide customers with the intelligent information they need to make smart energy choices and save money.
The company’s smart-thinking grid technology, which is currently being installed in every state it serves, quickly identifies outages and automatically reroutes power to restore customers – often in less than a minute – and can help to reduce the number of customers affected by an outage by as much as 75 percent. A smart-thinking grid also supports the two-way power flow needed to effectively integrate rooftop solar and other distributed technologies.
Smart-thinking technologies delivered significant benefits to customers during Hurricane Florence by helping to avoid more than 80,000 extended customer outages and keeping the power on for thousands of customers when they needed it most. These self-healing technologies also aided power restoration in Florida following Hurricane Michael in October. In total, around 700,000 extended outages were avoided across the company’s smart-thinking grid in 2018, saving customers 1.58 million hours of outage time.
Following Hurricane Michael and a major winter storm in December, crews working in areas where smart meters have been deployed were able to “ping” meters at homes and businesses along repaired electric lines to instantly determine if power was restored or if more repairs were needed. Previously, this work could only be done by manually patrolling each power line to confirm restorations. This smart meter technology helped to shorten final restorations after recent major storms by up to two days, on average.
Duke Energy has also delivered improved options and control for customers in 2018 through smart meter deployments taking place in the Carolinas, Florida and the Midwest.
With about 5 million already deployed, smart meters are delivering information to help customers take control of their energy use and save energy and money before their bill arrives. They also provide improved outage detection and can help to speed restoration following a major outage.
Additional work in 2018 included grid-hardening activities, physical and cyber security improvements and targeted undergrounding of outage-prone lines, all of which will help deliver a better experience for customers when the next storm strikes.
With severe weather events increasing in frequency and severity across the company’s service area, improving the grid to make it stronger and more resilient will continue to be a top priority for Duke Energy to reliably serve customers now and in the future.