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FPL Builds More Storm-Resilient Grid with New Smart Grid Device

March 1, 2019
By adding it to its suite of outage prevention tools, the energy company strives to build a stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient energy grid for customers

Florida Power & Light (FPL) will be the first energy company in the world to use a new smart grid device. By adding it to its suite of outage prevention tools, the energy company strives to build a stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient energy grid for customers. 

Called the Automated Transformer Switch (ATS), also known as a VacuFuse™ Self-Resetting Interrupter, the device will help FPL to prevent and reduce power outages. FPL made the announcement about the ATC as it reached a major smart grid technology milestone, completing the system-wide installation of 80,000 smart switches to reduce customer outages.

“The investments we’ve made throughout the last 13 years to build a stronger, smarter energy grid continue to provide tangible benefits to our customers in the form of higher day-to-day reliability and faster restoration following a major storm,” says Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “For example, the unprecedented size and scope of Hurricane Irma tested every piece of equipment across our 27,000-square-mile service area in 2017. Smart grid technology enabled us to avoid more than a half million outages during that storm and allowed us to restore service to customers even before it was safe for our trucks to roll.”

Since the historic 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, FPL has invested nearly $3 billion into building a stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient energy grid. These investments have helped the company increase service reliability for its customers by more than 30 percent in the last 10 years. The addition of the new ATS, which was jointly developed by FPL and S&C Electric Company will help prevent and significantly reduce outages closer to customers’ homes or businesses, equating to even better service reliability.

“Over the last few years, we have worked with FPL to identify ways to use our technology to better serve its customers,” says Mike Edmonds, chief commercial officer for S&C. “The new device brings advanced technology to areas of the grid that have never had it before and adds more tools to help FPL continue to improve its service reliability.”

S&C opened a facility in Palm Beach County in 2015 for its patented Automated Lateral Switch (ALS) to meet FPL's high demand. That smart device helps decrease the number of customers affected by momentary outages, or "flickers,” and keeps temporary issues on the grid from becoming long-term outages.

“The smart grid technology we’ve deployed pays dividends for our customers every day,” says Manny Miranda, senior vice president of power delivery for FPL. “The automated smart switches alone have allowed the company to avoid more than 1.3 million interruptions just in 2018. I look forward to continuing to use technology such as the ATS to deliver service that our customers can count on in good weather and bad.”

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