The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has presented Duke Energy with the association's "Emergency Recovery Award" for its outstanding power restoration efforts after two severe winter storms in North and South Carolina last year.
Prestigious energy industry award
Each year, the award is presented to EEI member companies to recognize their extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions caused by severe weather conditions or natural occurrences.
Duke Energy has earned the award 11 times since EEI began presenting it in 1998.
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process.
Distribution system damage
In mid-February 2014, a catastrophic winter storm caused more than 200,000 customers in North and South Carolina to lose power.
The length of the storm and its transition into a northeaster presented unique challenges for workers trying to restore power. Accumulated ice combined with heavy snow brought down trees, resulting in broken poles and collapsed wires.
Over 3,900 line and tree personnel, including crews from Duke Energy's Midwest and Florida operations, jumped into action and began restoring power to customers. Three days after the storm passed, service to 99.5% of customers had already been restored.
On March 6, 2014, the third largest ice storm for Duke Energy in the last 20 years moved across the Carolinas, resulting in over 414,000 customers to lose power. Thick ice caused trees and wires to collapse, resulting in extensive infrastructure damage.
Many outages were caused by distribution system damage, which, in some cases, required a complete rebuild to restore service.
Crews from American Electric Power, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Dominion, Louisville Gas and Electric, South Carolina Electric & Gas Company, and numerous electric cooperatives assisted in restoration efforts through highly dangerous conditions.
A total of 4,400 line and tree personnel quickly and safely began restoring service to those affected by the severe weather. By March 11, 99.4% of Duke Energy customers were restored.
Utility committed to its customers
"Duke Energy's exemplary efforts to restore service demonstrate the industry's commitment to serving its customers," said EEI president Tom Kuhn. "We commend the crews who braved dangerous, icy conditions in the wake of these severe winter storms, as they diligently worked to safely and quickly restore service."
"Responding to the aftermath of severe weather is just part of the job when you are an electric utility professional," said Lloyd Yates, Duke Energy's executive vice president of market solutions and president of the Carolinas region. "It's rewarding work that can be hazardous and exhausting, especially when there are back-to-back storms like last year.
"We are both honored and humbled to be recognized by EEI for serving our customers during these extraordinary weather events, and we appreciate the opportunity to again thank all of the crews and support personnel for Herculean efforts," he added.