FPL continues to make improvements to enhance service reliability for customers in good weather and bad.
Inspection of 767 power poles and trimming 66 miles of trees and vegetation from power lines part of planned work
Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) continues to upgrade its system in the Doral area as part of its ongoing work to strengthen the energy grid and improve the reliability of its service for customers. Company investments, which include strengthening power lines and poles, trimming trees near power lines and installing smart grid technology, help make the grid more reliable day-to-day and speed restoration efforts following major storms.
“We continue to build one of the nation’s strongest, smartest and most storm-resilient energy grids to provide our customers with reliable service year-round while keeping our typical residential bills among the lowest in the country,” said Eric Silagy, president, and CEO of FPL. “Our ongoing investments in strengthening the grid and using advanced smart grid technology continue to help us deliver electricity our customers can count on in good weather and bad. And, over the next three years, we plan on continuing these efforts as they have demonstrated their benefit to customers during everyday operations and helping speed the efforts to restore power during severe weather.”
2019 improvements in the Doral area
During this year, FPL plans to make the following improvements in and near Doral:
- Strengthening one main power line, which serves critical services that are necessary for communities to recover faster after major storms
- Clearing tree branches and vegetation — a major cause of power outages — from 66 miles of power lines
- Inspecting 767 power poles and strengthening or replacing those that no longer meet FPL’s standards for strength
- Installing smart grid technology, including 11 automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines to help detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur
- Inspecting four main power lines and equipment using infrared technology to detect issues before they cause a power interruption
When the planned 2019 work is completed, FPL will have made the following improvements in and near Doral since the historic 2004-2005 hurricane seasons:
- Strengthened 15 main power lines, including those that serve critical services
- Cleared tree branches and vegetation from 853 miles of power lines, an average of 65 miles per year
- Installed smart grid technology, including 189 automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines
- Inspected 75 main power lines and equipment using infrared technology
“FPL is a national leader in the reliability of service to its customers, but we’re never satisfied,” said Manny Miranda, senior vice president of power delivery for FPL. “We continue to implement projects that have demonstrated their value to our customers while looking at the latest technology and lessons learned from past storms to develop new ways of enhancing the reliability of our service.”
Strengthening the FPL grid throughout Florida
Since 2006, FPL has invested nearly $4 billion, as well as ongoing maintenance and improvement work, to make the energy grid stronger and smarter. This includes:
- Hardening or undergrounding 98 percent of main power lines, serving critical community functions and services, such as hospitals, fire and police stations, and 911 call centers
- Clearing vegetation from more than 15,000 miles of power lines annually
- Inspecting the company’s 1.2 million power poles every eight years
- Installing more than 5 million smart meters and 110,000 intelligent devices along the energy grid
These energy grid investments benefit customers by enhancing service reliability by more than 30 percent in the past 10 years.
The company plans to continue hardening the energy grid over the next three years by investing approximately $2 billion, which includes hardening its main power lines and replacing all remaining wooden transmission structures. By the end of 2022, FPL expects that all of its transmission structures will be steel or concrete. By the end of 2024, the company expects to have hardened or undergrounded all main power lines within its distribution system, including those serving critical and key community facilities.
Hardening means that FPL is installing power poles, which can be a combination of wood and concrete, that will be able to withstand hurricane-force winds. Hardening includes shortening the span between poles by installing additional poles and possibly placing some sections of power lines underground. Hardened power lines perform 40 percent better in day-to-day operations than those power lines that are not hardened, which means fewer outages experienced by customers.
As a lesson learned from Hurricane Irma, the company started the Storm Secure Underground Program, a three-year pilot that focuses on using new technologies and processes to find less expensive ways to underground neighborhood power lines, which will further enhance customers’ service reliability and the energy grid’s resiliency. The pilot is focusing on areas that experienced an outage during Hurricanes Matthew and/or Irma, and have a history of outages caused primarily by vegetation, which in Florida grows year-round.
Historically, reliability results indicate that, on average, customers served by underground main power lines tend to have fewer outages compared to overhead main power lines. Nearly 40 percent of FPL’s 68,000 miles of distribution power lines are already underground.
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