As Tropical Storm Elsa makes landfall along Florida’s west coast, Duke Energy, which serves about 1.9 million Floridians, is prepping for impact.
The energy provider has activated its storm center, and about 3,000 Duke Energy crew members, contractors, tree specialists and other personnel are being staged from Pinellas County to North Florida, which will allow for a quicker response after the storm passes.
The company provides power to customers across 35 counties in Florida — making up a 13,000-square-mile service area, which will likely be in Elsa’s path. But, because the energy provider operates in several other states, it’s able to pull company resources from areas not affected by the storm when severe weather occurs.
“At Duke Energy, safety always comes first. We actively care about the safety of our customers, crews and employees during and after every storm event,” Todd Fountain, Duke Energy’s Florida storm director, said in a statement. “We’re trained and prepared, and we want to ensure our customers are safe and prepared for any impacts from the storm.”
The energy company also released several safety guidelines to follow in relation to flooding and electricity:
— 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.
— Do not drive over or 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.
Floridians should also be prepared for power outages caused by strong winds, debris and flooding, which may last several days. Duke Energy customers who experience a power outage can report it online at duke-energy.com, by texting “OUT” to 57801 or by calling 800-228-8485