RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It is officially Hurricane Season and Duke Energy says they have a new tool to keep customers’ lights on in the event of a hurricane or severe weather.
The last deadly hurricane to impact North Carolina was Florence in Sept. 2018. Florence left over a million people without power for weeks, some even longer.
Duke Energy services customers in coastal and central North Carolina.
According to the National Weather Service, approximately 1.1 million customers were left without power during Hurricane Florence. Duke Energy Distribution center said its because of natural disasters like Florence that they’ve created the “Smart Self Healing Technology.”
“Smart Self healing technology automatically identifies power outages and quickly reroutes power to other power lines to restore services faster to customers,” Spokesperson for Duke Energy Jeff Brooks said.
The new tool also reduces the number of people without power in a matter of seconds versus hours during a hurricane.
“We learned so much from Hurricane Florence and all the storms in between, and we worked to improve our grid. To make it stronger, more resilient, better able to withstand severe weather,” Brooks told news crew Thursday afternoon.
In the facility that houses 70 agents, it’s agents like Dreame Rorie that are trained to educate and keep customers calm during the recovery process.
She said it’s the ability to help during a natural disaster that keeps her going.
“Most times when it is a big outage, we just let them know that we’re going to get there as soon as we possibly can and just remain calm,” Rorie said.
Carolann Wice said it’s the personal connections to people that matter.
“You could really turn someone days around because the system will generate a time. It may say two hours and on a hot day like today. Once they actually get home and flip a breaker it’s such a sense of relief,” Wice said.
Brooks said their goal is to keep the power grid reliable and electricity available 24/7 for customers. They also plan to significantly expand this technology over the next few years.