ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Inside Duke Energy's Distribution Control Center on Tuesday, dispatchers were awaiting the worst.

"I call this the calm before the storm. So while we're completely prepared to respond in this room, we can see the number of outages and right now we only have a few hundred throughout the state," Spokeswoman Ana Gibbs said.

That number is expected to jump quickly once Hurricane Michael makes landfall.

The control center is in St. Petersburg, but it’s also where Duke Energy sends crews out from all over the state.

Last year after Hurricane Irma, IT issues and severe storm damage left more than a million customers in the dark for days, even weeks.

Gibbs said they’ve been making major changes to improve service.

"We have committed to investing $6 billion over the next four years to improve a variety of different things," Gibbs said.

Those changes include technology known as "self-healing," where power from a downed line can be re-routed to another one. Dispatchers also have the ability to turn on breakers from behind their desks.

"It's that quick, it's real time, so as soon as I close that breaker in, we're picking up all 2,000-3,000 customers in one click," dispatcher Allyn Deerwester said.

Duke Energy officials have also worked to protect some power lines by installing them underground. 

Officials said they're ready to respond.

"They're checking their equipment, they're preparing to be sure all the resources they need are ready to go to respond to the storm," Gibbs said.