T&D World Magazine
FPL Monitoring Tropical Depression 9

FPL Monitoring Tropical Depression 9

FPL has activated its emergency response plan, and is working with other utilities and electrical contracting companies to secure additional workers, should this become necessary While the strongest impact is forecast for customers on the West Coast and northern peninsula, bands of severe weather could impact customers throughout FPL’s service territory Wind-blown debris can cause power outages, given the relative lack of tropical storm-force weather for more than a decade

Florida Power & Light Co. has announced that, due to the current projected path of Tropical Depression 9, the company has activated its emergency response plan and is preparing to restore power to affected customers safely and as quickly as possible.

While uncertainty remains about the ultimate intensity of the storm, the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center indicates that a tropical storm watch may be issued for portions of Florida’s West Coast later today.

“FPL is well-prepared to respond to severe weather, having invested more than $2 billion since 2006 to build a stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient energy grid that will allow us to restore power much faster than ever before,” said Eric Silagy, president and chief executive officer of FPL.

Our system improvements mean fewer power outages, faster service restoration following storms and more reliable service for our customers every day. In the last five years, FPL has improved daily service reliability by 25 percent.

Enhancements to the energy grid include:

  • Strengthening more than 600 main power lines, including those that service more than 700 critical community facilities;
  • Placing more than 450 main power lines underground;
  • Clearing vegetation – a major cause of power outages – from more than 135,000 miles of power lines;
  • Completing more than 1.4 million pole inspections – and upgrading or replacing those that no longer meet our standards for strength; and
  • Installing 4.8 million smart meters and 36,000 intelligent devices along the electric grid using advanced technology that helps detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur.

“We are actively preparing and are ready to respond to outages caused by the storm’s high winds,” said Manny Miranda, senior vice president of power delivery. “We fully anticipate that wind-blown debris, such as branches and palm fronds, will cause power outages. This means that our crews first must clear debris from power lines before restoring service. That said, we have 1,400 vegetation resources ready to go to work alongside our restoration crews, who we are pre-positioning in the areas that will be affected.”

A key focus of our work is to make the electric system stronger by upgrading the main power lines serving critical local facilities and other community needs. This prepares our system to better withstand severe weather and enables us to restore our customers’ service faster following major storms. 

These upgrades include local facilities, including all major hospitals, and essentially all 911 facilities and emergency operations centers in the 35 Florida counties we serve. We’ve also upgraded lines serving facilities that address other community needs, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations. By year-end 2016, FPL will have strengthened all main power lines serving critical facilities.

FPL urges customers to review their family and business emergency plans, keep a close watch on the development of the storm and follow the advice of local government. Preparation and safety tips are available at FPL.com.

How we prepare for storm season

  • Prior to storm season, we conduct extensive training to prepare our employees to respond safely and as quickly as possible if a storm threatens our service territory.
  • We secure agreements for assistance from out-of-state utilities and electrical contracting companies in case additional restoration workers should be needed. We also order backup supplies and equipment, and we plan staging sites throughout our 35-county service territory.
  • We work closely with local emergency officials to update lists of facilities that are critical to the community, such as hospitals, police and fire stations, communication facilities, water treatment plants and transportation providers.
  • We also prepare and strengthen our infrastructure throughout the year by:
    • Clearing tree limbs and branches from power lines;
    • Inspecting poles for strength;
    • Upgrading poles from wood to concrete or steel; and
    • Inspecting power lines and equipment with infrared technology to detect issues the naked eye can’t see, and making any needed repairs.
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