Florida Power & Light Co. is investing in major upgrades to nearly 100 main power lines and other infrastructure during 2014 to further strengthen its electric grid against severe weather, help communities recover more quickly following major storms and improve everyday reliability for its customers.
The 2014 investment plan, which is FPL's most ambitious electric system strengthening initiative to date, is part of the company's three-year (2013 - 2015) program to invest more than $428 million in upgrading the electric grid to better withstand major storms.
"This record investment is part of FPL's ongoing commitment to improve the strength and reliability of the electric grid for the benefit of our customers," said Eric Silagy, president of FPL. "FPL is constantly working to build upon the company's more than 99.98 percent electric service reliability that it delivers to its customers, while maintaining the lowest residential bill in Florida. A stronger electric system means there will be less damage during severe weather, faster service restoration following major storms and improved reliability in all weather conditions."
This year's more than $170 million investment is focused on upgrades to power lines and equipment serving essential community facilities - including hospitals, police and fire stations, 911 centers, water treatment plants, grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations - that are crucial to people and businesses as they recover from damaging storms. The work encompasses more than 450 miles of power lines, about the distance from Miami to Tallahassee.
FPL's 2014 program includes extensive enhancements to both its power distribution and transmission networks:
Strengthening a record number (98) of the company's main power distribution lines.
- Replacing thousands of distribution utility poles with stronger ones - most of them concrete - designed to withstand hurricane-force wind gusts of 130 mph or more.
- Installing additional smart grid technology to better detect and address power outages, and adding improved lightning protection equipment.
Upgrading FPL's power transmission system.
- Replacing wood poles with concrete structures and upgrading associated hardware.
- Installing new flood monitoring systems at select power substations that are most susceptible to possible flooding and storm surge.
These upgrades are in addition to FPL's extensive, year-round storm preparedness program and other reliability initiatives, such as clearing vegetation from power lines, inspecting electrical equipment using advanced infrared technology, and inspecting and replacing end-of-life utility poles.