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The Villages
Saturday, November 19, 2022

Duke Energy gathers 10,000 linemen in preparation for Ian’s arrival

Duke Energy has moved 10,000 linemen and support personnel into its 35-county service area which includes part of The Villages, Lake, Sumter and Marion counties.

More than 2,000 trucks with more than 6,000 workers rolled into the 80-acre staging site in The Villages. The site, located on State Road 471 was filled to capacity by 11 a.m. Wednesday. Once the crews had situated their trucks and checked their equipment they were transported by buses to area hotels.

Duke Energy has mobilized nearly line workers, tree trimmers and damage assessors to stage at strategic locations throughout the Florida service territory, which stretches over 13,000-square miles, spans 35 counties from Highlands County to the Florida Panhandle and serves 1.9 million residential customers.

More than 2000 trucks with more than 6000 workers rolled into the 80 acre staging site in The Villages.
More than 2,000 trucks with more than 6,000 workers rolled into the 80 acre staging site in The Villages.

Many of the linemen and their equipment are from dozens of other companies from across the country – from Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas and even Ontario, Canada. Though customers might not see a Duke Energy logo on the side of the truck, these workers are here because they responded to Duke’s request for help to restore power to their customers.

Since Hurricane Irma, Duke has taken steps to harden facilities, the electrical grid and communications systems. Crews will be dispatched to restore power once winds are below 40 miles an hour and will restore power to life essential facilities such as fire and police stations as well as hospitals. Next the company will seek to restore power to the greatest number of customers at one time.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a disaster emergency for Florida and has said 42,000 linemen and support personnel are in the state ready to go to work once it is safe to do so.

Duke Energy Florida Shares Tips on What To Do If the Power Goes Out

  • Customers should stay tuned to local news for the latest advisories from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, as well as state and local emergency management officials.
  • Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized, as well as trees, limbs, fences or anything in contact with lines.
  • If a power line falls across a car that you’re in, stay in the car. If you MUST exit the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
  • If you see a fallen power line or safety hazard involving our equipment, call Duke Energy at 800.228.8485 or contact your local emergency services immediately.
  • Disconnect or turn off any nonessential electrical equipment that may start automatically when power is restored to avoid overloading circuits.
  • Do not open freezers or refrigerators more than necessary. Opening will allow food to thaw more quickly. For more, see the FDA’s food safety guidelines.
  • Never replace a fuse or touch a circuit breaker with wet hands, or while standing on a wet or damp surface.
  • If rising water threatens your home – or if you evacuate your home – turn off your power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box.
  • Electric current passes easily through water, so stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires. Don’t drive over – and don’t stand near – downed power lines.
  • Downed lines will be hard to see in the rain and can potentially be hidden in standing water. If you encounter large pools of standing water, stop, back up and choose another path.
  • If your home or business is flooded, Duke Energy cannot reconnect power until the electrical system has been inspected by a licensed electrician. If there is damage, an electrician will need to make repairs and obtain verification from your local building inspection authority before power can be restored.

Duke Energy Restoration Process

  • Duke Energy has mobilized nearly 10,000 lineworkers, tree professionals, damage assessment and support personnel to safe locations in its Florida service areas. They will be prepared to respond to outages once it is safe to do so.
  • Additional line workers and support personnel came from Duke Energy’s service territories in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and the Carolinas, along with help from mutual assistance organizations from across the state. Placing crews near areas that will likely be affected by this system allows for the quickest and safest response after a storm passes through.
  • Duke Energy meteorologists are continuing to track the storm and we will continue to make adjustments to those resources as the storm approaches.
  • In addition to making safety a priority, customers should also prepare for extended power outages.
  • Before power can be restored, crews first must assess the extent of damage – which can sometimes take 24 hours or more – to determine which crews, equipment and supplies are needed to expedite repairs.
  • Crews will restore power, where possible, while completing damage assessment.
  • As restoration begins, workers may not be visible in each impacted neighborhood, as the first priority is to repair large power lines and other infrastructure that will return power to the greatest number of customers as quickly and safely as possible.

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