Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) has been sending transmission equipment and other critical resources to help Entergy Louisiana restore power after Hurricane Laura made landfall in the last week of August. In addition to the equipment, more than 1300 FPL lineworkers and contractors have been working in Louisiana and Texas since Aug. 30 to restore power to the states' residents and businesses.
Last week, nearly 180 semi-trailer trucks were expected to leave Palm Beach County, which is the equivalent of about 30 trucks leaving each day. Four trucks were required to transport each transmission structure and other equipment that would be used to help rebuild one of the 500-kV transmission structures that were damaged in Louisiana. Transmission lines carry large amounts of high-voltage energy over long distances and are essential to providing power to communities.
"Hurricane Laura cut a path of destruction that requires rebuilding parts of the energy grid in Louisiana, which is a long and arduous process, to help return communities to some sense of normalcy," said FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy. "At the FPL, we know all too well the challenges faced in restoring power. We have relied on the assistance of so many when mother nature impacted our customers during hurricane season. So, we can empathize with our fellow Americans when they need help and our team is more than ready to lend a hand."
The FPL's restoration workforce is joining approximately 29,000 workers from 29 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada who responded to restore power. Because of the pandemic, crews have been following safety guidelines to keep everyone safe, including social distancing, increased sanitation measures, and wearing masks where appropriate. Signs on trucks remind the public to honor the 6-ft social distancing requirements that help keep the crews safe while they work.
"I couldn't be prouder of the men and women who are working to help get the lights back on after Hurricane Laura," said Manny Miranda, FPL senior vice president for power delivery. "They left their friends and family to travel more than 900 miles to help bring a sense of normalcy to communities hurting from this devastating hurricane. Our team is well-trained for the challenges they face, including hazardous working conditions and excessive heat. We know that this will be a difficult and lengthy restoration process for our partner utilities in Louisiana and Texas."
Providing mutual assistance after natural disasters is a hallmark of the energy industry. In August, more than 600 FPL employees and contractors traveled to New Jersey to help restore power to nearly 3000 homes and businesses affected by Hurricane Isaias. In 2018, FPL crews deployed four times to assist in power restoration efforts after a natural disaster, some working six months away from home.