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Power companies look to increase storm resiliency before hurricane season

Three companies in the state are looking to strengthen their power grids and are asking for millions of dollars to try and up storm resiliency.

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. — With hurricane season right around the corner, power companies are getting ready. They're looking to upgrade systems before any storms hit.

Three companies in the state are looking to harden their power grids, asking for millions of dollars to try and up storm resiliency, in case a major storm hits us here at home.

Duke Energy alone is asking for close to $143 million in funding to upgrade its system. It's all a part of their storm protection plan that they're required to submit.

The money would help Duke do standard maintenance like checking power poles and maintaining vegetation, but it would also help them put in some new technology that can help during power outages.

Right now the focus is on "self-healing" technology that would automatically reroute power if a poll gets hit during a storm.

It instantaneously reroutes power around whatever hit the poll so you don’t have to wait for a crew to out figure out what’s wrong and then fix the line.

"Last year, self-healing technology was able to avoid 250,000 outages of this. In addition to that, it saved 17 million minutes worth of outages. So that's a really successful technology that we're using to help reduce outages throughout the year, but also during storms," Ana Gibbs with Duke Energy said.

The last major storm that had a big impact on the state was Hurricane Irma in 2017. Irma knocked out power in more than 60% of the state. That's more than 6.7 million customers that were affected.

Storm prep is something Duke does all 365 days of the year, but they're focusing on this now to try and stay ahead.

However, outages are still possible during severe storms, so they want you at home to remember that. It's still likely the lights can go out, so everyone should prepare just in case.

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