Growing tech means less power outage wait time

High voltage power lines

Duke Energy customers in Alachua and Levy counties avoided a combined 2,900 extended power outages last year thanks to a growing technology. 

Smart, self-healing grids can return power within minutes, avoiding the time delay of workers physically coming to fix a line before lights turn back on. Duke Energy hopes to grow the technology over the next 10 years to reach 80% of its customer base, according to a press release.

As of July 2022, the company has passed the 50% mark to provide the self-healing support to the majority of customers. 

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Though not possible everywhere, the smart, self-healing system reroutes power around broken lines caused by a major storm, wreck or any other problem. Duke Energy uses the analogy of a GPS system that directs you away from the problem area to still arrive at your destination. 

“We know that storms are increasing in frequency and intensity, so it’s important that we take steps today to protect the grid from the impacts of severe weather and increase reliability for all our customers,” Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president, said in a press release. 

Last year, Duke Energy reported the system saved 17 million minutes of lost outage time—or just over 4,722 days of customer outages. That includes more than 40,300 minutes in Alachua County and 175,000 in Levy County. 

Over the past five years, the company has reduced the wait time during an outage by 20%. 

Minutes of avoided outages during major storms due to smart, self-healing technology:

  • Tropical Storm Collin – June 2016. More than 11,000 extended customer power outages avoided, saving over 2 million minutes of customer interruptions.
  • Hurricane Hermine – September 2016. More than 27,000 extended customer power outages avoided, saving over 3 million minutes of customer interruptions.
  • Hurricane Matthew – October 2016. More than 1,000 extended customer power outages avoided, saving over 159,000 minutes of customer interruptions.
  • Hurricane Irma – September 2017. More than 12,000 extended customer power outages avoided, saving over 5 million minutes of customer interruptions.
  • Hurricane Michael – October 2018. More than 10,000 extended customer power outages avoided, saving over 1.8 million minutes of customer interruptions.
  • Hurricane Eta – November 2020. More than 13,000 extended customer power outages avoided, saving over 1.7 million minutes of customer interruptions.
  • Tropical Storm Fred – August 2021. More than 5,000 extended customer power outages avoided, saving over 1.2 million minutes of customer interruptions.

You can find more information on how the smart technology works through a Duke Energy video.

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