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Undergrounding lines, improving reliability

Targeted undergrounding improves storm response and reliability by using smart data to strategically identify the most outage-prone power lines and move those lines underground. Moving outage-prone lines underground can significantly reduce power outages and momentary service interruptions, and it can reduce costs and quicken restoration time after a major event for all customers.


  • Reduce the number of power outages, improving the quality of electric service in outage-prone areas
  • Minimize momentary service interruptions
  • Restore power faster for all customers following major storms
  • Eliminate or reduce the frequency of tree and vegetation work needed for hard-to-access lines
Targeted undergrounding is about more than providing electricity. It's an effort to help ensure that all customers, regardless of where they live, receive the same high level and quality of service.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Targeted undergrounding focuses on the most outage-prone overhead power lines that deliver power into neighborhoods and to homes and businesses. These lines are different from higher voltage lines that carry power from power plants across regions and into cities and towns. By using advanced data to target less reliable line segments, we can help ensure that all customers along a line enjoy the same high-quality service.
  • Yes. While this work will result in significant reliability improvements, portions of the Duke Energy system will remain above ground and will continue to experience the effects of severe weather such as high winds and ice storms. Undergrounding outage-prone line segments will help to reduce the number of outages after a major storm and can help speed restoration for all customers. Additional work to harden remaining overhead lines and install intelligent technology that can reroute power to reduce or avoid outages will build upon this undergrounding work as part of a layered approach to improving reliability across the state.
  • Possibly. We are using an objective, data-driven process to identify the most outage-prone lines in our operating areas. As these lines are identified, a project team will begin a comprehensive outreach process to coordinate with property owners and neighborhoods to underground targeted lines.
  • We rely on electricity to power our lives – whether at work, school or at home. Outages can be disruptive, resulting in lost work, lost sales, and lost productivity. Faster restoration after a storm means that life can return to normal more quickly for residents and businesses. Avoiding outages and keeping communities reliable has a positive impact for that community, as well as the region.
  • Duke Energy plans to use directional drilling rather than open trenches to minimize disruption to trees and landscaping. We will work with property owners as we determine the acceptable routing for underground lines. Directional drilling provides a low-impact way to install conduit and cables underground. As overhead lines are being removed, some minimal tree trimming or removal may be necessary.
  • No, Duke Energy will remove debris and restore the customer’s property in close coordination with the owner.
  • The time required will vary among projects. For a subdivision, we may work in the community for many months at multiple locations. Property owners and neighborhood organizations will be advised on work that may impact their service and their property, and what to expect as a project is planned.

    In addition, customers will be notified in advance of any planned outages associated with the work. An outage to make the final conversion from overhead to underground service is typically short in duration. We will work to proactively share outage details with affected customers.

    Our goal is always to minimize disruptions to customers as much as possible. This is a multistep process and we appreciate customers’ patience as we work to improve electric service reliability.

  • A proposed underground route is designed for each project. The route may cross properties that won’t receive underground service, but an easement is needed to cross the property to be able to provide underground service for neighbors. This allows Duke Energy to install and repair underground lines as needed to maintain reliable service for all customers served by a line.
  • Duke Energy will provide phone, telecommunications and cable companies whose services are also located on our poles the opportunity to place their lines underground in conjunction with our installation, but ultimately it will be that company’s decision as to whether to participate. Because each project will be evaluated separately by these other companies, the poles will likely remain in place until a decision is made. 

    Undergrounding electric service will still proceed, regardless, so that we can deliver the improved reliability benefits this work will provide. All of Duke Energy’s overhead wires, transformers and other equipment will be removed from the designated poles even if other utilities remain.
  • Property owners should call 811 to have lines located prior to any digging.
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