Inside Duke Energy's distribution center: Where workers make sure the grid stays up and running amid extreme heat

The sweltering heat is putting extreme pressure on Duke Energy Progress' power grid.

Operators are manning electricity for more than a million people in our region and the company is taking several steps to make sure the air conditioning stays on during the heat wave.

The distribution center operates like air traffic control. There is a frenzied atmosphere and several work stations where operators have eyes glued to monitors.

We're being told there is a strain on the system right now, but the company is working feverishly to handle the demands.

"Just like any athlete trains to perform their best on the high performance day, we've prepared the grid to perform on a high performance day like today," said Duke-Energy Progress spokesperson Jeff Brooks.

The company said it is limiting general maintenance work so there are more crews available to respond to sporadic outages.

"In some cases, they're working to configure the grid so it's more efficient," Brooks said.

Staff members can also adjust voltage to power lines and Duke is rolling out new technology that can greatly reduce restoration time for areas cut-off.

"That can automatically detect an outage and reroute power to other power lines to get customers back up more quickly," Brooks said.

Long wait times, especially during a heatwave, can be unbearable.

Some folks in New York City are experiencing the pain of losing power during the heat wave. There have been a couple of blackouts -- 30,000 customers were taken off-line Sunday in Brooklyn.

A 30-block stretch, including Times Square, was in the dark a week ago.

Duke says, thankfully, it has never had a widespread power outage because of stress on the system; the company credits the work in its distribution center for keeping that statistic alive.

"What many of these people do is keep this grid reliable and efficient when temperatures are at there most extreme," Brooks said.
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