Florida Power & Light Company has restored power to essentially all of its more than 2.1 million customers who were impacted by Hurricane Ian, eight days after the high-end Category 4 storm exited Florida.
With limited work remaining in the most storm-battered areas of Southwest Florida, FPL continues to release portions of its workforce of 21,000 men and women – including mutual assistance from 30 states. Some members of FPL’s restoration workforce were released to assist Lee County Electric Cooperative with its restoration effort in Southwest Florida.
“I want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding throughout our restoration process,” said Eric Silagy, chairman and CEO of FPL. “Hurricane Ian was a life-altering storm for so many of our fellow Floridians and one we won’t soon forget. Getting the lights back on is a major step in what is sure to be a long road to recovery for many of our communities. I also want to extend my sincere gratitude to the FPL team and to the men and women from around the country who came together in mutual assistance to support this massive restoration. Though our restoration is largely complete, we remain as focused as ever on getting the lights back on for our last-remaining customers who can safely receive service.”
Even before Hurricane Ian made landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm, with 150 mph winds, unprecedented storm surge and flooding, FPL had gathered a veritable army of men and women from around the country. Damage assessment, tree-trimming and restoration teams have been working around the clock to restore power to every home and business that could safely receive it.
Damage to Customer-Owned Electrical Equipment
Restoration is now essentially complete, but thousands of homes and businesses have been so badly damaged that they cannot safely receive electric service. In the hardest-hit areas, FPL will continue conducting restoration work in concert with emergency officials, energizing homes and businesses once it is safe to do so. Some customers may need to contact a licensed electrician to repair damaged, customer-owned electrical equipment, including meter enclosures and weatherheads in order to safely receive power.
FPL is making financial assistance available through the company’s Care to Share® program for eligible customers who need repairs on damaged meter enclosures and weatherheads before they can safely receive power. FPL’s Care to Share program is made possible by the generosity of FPL employees, shareholders and customers who donate to help individuals and families who are experiencing temporary difficulties. Eligible customers in need of repairs for damaged meter cans and weatherheads in order to safely receive power can apply for financial assistance up to $1,000 at FPL.com/help, under the Apply for Hurricane Ian repairs section. Customers who want to support hurricane victims can also visit FPL.com/help to contribute to Care to Share.
Customers in areas where power has already been restored may experience outages over the coming days, weeks and months due to weakened trees and branches that could fall, impacting power lines and electric equipment. FPL will continue working around the clock to restore power in these instances as the company brings its system back to its pre-storm state.
“Hurricanes are a devastating force of nature and the repercussions can continue even after a storm has passed,” said Silagy. “Salt contamination along the coastline and significant wind gusts can loosen electrical connections, which may lead to further outages following our restoration efforts. But rest assured, our crews will continue to respond as these outages are identified.”
Storm-hardened System Benefits Customers During Hurricane Ian
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: Even given the unprecedented devastation caused by Hurricane Ian, no significant structural damage occurred at any FPL power plant.
- FPL’s transmission system: The backbone of any electrical system, transmission lines carry high-voltage electricity from power plants to substations. FPL did not lose a single transmission structure during Hurricane Ian.
- Underground power lines: FPL is working to systematically underground neighborhood power lines, which are traditionally located in backyards and susceptible to trees and other wind-blown debris. Initial forensics show existing underground neighborhood power lines performed five times better than existing overhead neighborhood power lines in Southwest Florida, which took a direct hit from the high-end, Category 4 storm.
- Smart grid technology: The tens of thousands of smart grid devices 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 to avoid more than 400,000 customer outages during Hurricane Ian.
In addition to smart grid technology, FPL also continued its use of drones during hurricane restorations. During Hurricane Ian, FPL conducted more than 1,900 drone flights – including the debut of FPLAir One, the company’s fixed-wing drone.