Florida Power & Light Co. has been named the winner of the Florida Governor's Sterling Award during the 24th Annual Florida Sterling Conference, hosted earlier this month in Orlando. The conference's annual showcase provides a forum for teams to demonstrate principles and techniques to improve organizational performance through employee participation.
"At FPL, we're committed to delivering reliable service for our customers and that includes making continued investments in advanced technology to make our grid stronger and smarter," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "Leveraging smart grid data retrieved from the more than 4.8 million smart meters in our system, our team has developed a unique proactive notification process to help predict and in some cases prevent power outages. When an outage does occur, our smart meters help us reduce the impact to customers -- enabling us to provide improved reliability in good weather and bad."
FPL's "Powerful Predictors" team demonstrated the benefits of the company's proactive ticket notification system by using smart grid data to predict when a customer is about to experience an outage, enabling crews to proactively deploy to an affected area and, in many cases, resolve the issue before a customer is even aware he or she had a problem. Through the prediction and repair of intermittent power outages, FPL's team avoided more than 3,000 single customer outages in 2015. For these respective outages, the team decreased the average interruption duration by approximately 50 minutes, and achieved 70 percent cost savings by minimizing wait and travel time due to outages.
"This predictive tool is a game changer. It allows us to detect problems and alert crews to issues on the grid, directing them to the right location faster – even before a customer is aware they may soon experience an outage," said Manny Miranda, senior vice president of Power Delivery for FPL. "Through solutions like the proactive ticket notification system, which offer us even greater visibility on the health of our energy grid, our team is able to deliver exceptional service reliability to our customers."
FPL began modernizing its system in 2010 with the widespread installation of smart meters. Since then, FPL has installed more than 4.8 million smart meters in customers' homes and businesses, and more than 36,000 intelligent devices and automated smart switches, which help monitor and manage the electric system, detect and prevent power issues, and get life back to normal faster when outages occur.
In 2015, FPL customers benefited from $46 million in smart grid operational savings due to efficiencies enabled by smart meters. Part of these savings are also due to the avoidance of restoration trips, and along with them, unnecessary costs associated with dispatching trucks and other related costs that ultimately are paid for by customers – more than 200,000 fewer field visits since 2012.
The Florida Sterling Council is the sole provider of Florida's Governor's Sterling Award endorsed by the Governor, the National Baldrige Program and the State Alliance. This award comes on the heels of FPL's nuclear power plants being recognized with the Nuclear Energy Institute's 2016 top innovation award for pioneering a unique program that significantly improves plant performance.