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FPL Earns Top Industry Honors for Rapid Response During Hurricane Ian

Jan. 17, 2023
The EEI Emergency Response Award honored the thousands of employees who restored power to millions of customers after the storm hit Florida.

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has honored Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) with its Emergency Response Award for the company’s power restoration efforts following Hurricane Ian.  

“Throughout the past six months, electric companies faced devastating hurricanes, unprecedented heat waves, and many other extreme weather events that impacted the customers and communities we serve,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “I commend Florida Power & Light Company’s commitment to restore service for its customers safely and quickly under challenging conditions. FPL and its storm response team undoubtedly are deserving of this national recognition, and I am honored to present them with this well-deserved award.”  

In late September, Hurricane Ian ravaged Florida for 72 hours, making landfall near Fort Myers before slicing through the state. The catastrophic Category 4 storm, with 150 mph winds, unprecedented storm surge, torrential rainfall and flooding, left millions of Florida homes and businesses without power.  

With an extensive restoration workforce of 21,000 men and women, including mutual assistance from across the United States, FPL restored power to two-thirds of its customers after just one full day of restoration. Just eight days after the high-end storm exited the state, FPL was able to essentially restore power to all of its more than 2.1 million customers impacted by Ian, one of the most powerful and costly hurricanes to ever make landfall in the United States. 

“Hurricane Ian was a time of heartbreak and loss for many of our fellow Floridians and we dedicated ourselves to helping customers get back on their feet after the devastating storm,” said Eric Silagy, chairman and CEO of FPL. “The resourcefulness and ingenuity displayed by our employees and all first responders throughout this challenging restoration was awe-inspiring. I couldn’t be prouder of their commitment to restoring a sense of normalcy to our state and our communities when they needed us most.”  

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, ground assessments proved to be challenging due to washed-out roadways and bridges, but technologies like FPLAir One – the company’s fixed-wing drone which took its first flight during Hurricane Ian – provided critical intelligence to put the right crews and the right equipment in the right places to restore power safely and as quickly as possible. 

Sustained, Long-Term Investments Benefit Customers 
For nearly two decades, FPL has invested significantly in building a stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient energy grid. While no energy grid is hurricane-proof, detailed assessments following Hurricane Ian confirmed the resiliency of FPL’s storm-hardened energy grid:  

  • FPL’s power generating facilities suffered no significant structural damage. 
  • FPL’s transmission system, the backbone of any electrical system for movement of high-voltage electricity from power plants to substations, did not lose a single transmission structure. 
  • Underground neighborhood power lines performed five times better than overhead neighborhood power lines in Southwest Florida. 
  • Smart grid technology installed along FPL’s energy grid helped the company restore service to customers before it was safe to send crews into the field and helped avoid more than 400,000 customer outages. 

This is the 13th time FPL has been recognized by EEI for recovery and assistance efforts following service disruptions caused by extreme weather or other natural events. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI’s winter Board of Directors and CEO meeting. 

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