In an extended effort to modernise its power distribution infrastructure in North Carolina, Duke Energy will invest an additional $13bn over the next 10 years. Duke Energy will plans to upgrade its burying lines, adding technology to reduce power outages and putting more energy efficiency tools into the hands of its consumers.
The utility has approximately 190,000 miles (305, 775km) of power lines in the Carolinas, and reportedly spends a billion dollars a year to maintain and upgrade them.
David Fountain, Duke Energy's North Carolina president, said that the new programme will supplement these efforts.
"Really what this program does is accelerate the rate of investment and improvement in the grid, in order to improve reliability and provide protection against physical and cyberattacks, as well as harden the grid against storms," says Fountain.
Matthew wrought widespread destruction and catastrophic loss of life during its journey across the Western Atlantic, including parts of Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, the Lucayan Archipelago, the southeastern United States, and the Canadian Maritimes.
Hurricane Matthew was declared a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane. The storm cost Duke Energy $150 million in repairs.
Duke Energy activated an emergency response plan and storm centre as Hurricane Matthew triggered a hurricane warning for parts of Florida.
At the time of the hurricane warning, Alex Glenn, Duke Energy state president – Florida, said: “Duke Energy Florida line workers and additional contractor crews are prepared to respond quickly, as we did last month with Hermine, should customers lose power as a result of this deadly, powerful storm."
“If the potential impact lessens, the company will make crews available to any utility in Florida or beyond who may need help.”
The new programme that will be rolled out over the next 10 years in North Carolina will "put some lines underground in areas prone to storm damage, and add technology to re-route power when needed - reducing the number and length of outages," reported WFAE, Charlotte's NPR News source.
Fountain added that the electrical grid also needs to accommodate the anticipated two million new residents in North Carolina over the next 10 years.
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