Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) customers in Wellington continue to benefit from the company’s ongoing work to strengthen the energy grid and improve service reliability. FPL investments, which include strengthening power lines and poles, trimming trees near power lines, and installing smart grid technology and undergrounding power lines in select areas, help make the grid more reliable day-to-day and speed restoration following major storms.
“For more than 15 years, FPL has been improving the energy grid, making it stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient to keep the lights on for customers in good weather and bad,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “Last year, there was a historic level of tropical activity with 30 named storms, and as a result of our ongoing investments in smart grid technology, we were able to speed restoration during these storms and avoid more than 150,000 outages. In addition, we continue to find cost-effective ways to replace overhead power lines with underground lines to reduce outages caused by animals, birds, trees and other vegetation.”
FPL plans to make the following improvements in and near Wellington this year:
• Strengthening one main power line.
• Inspecting and clearing tree branches and vegetation — a major cause of power outages — from 33 miles of power lines.
• As of this year, will have inspected 71 percent of power poles in Wellington over the past eight-year inspection cycle, strengthening or replacing those that no longer meet FPL’s standards.
• Installing smart grid technology, including four automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines to help detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur.
• Inspecting six main power lines and equipment using infrared technology to detect issues before they cause a power interruption.
When the planned 2021 work is completed, FPL will have made the following improvements in and near Wellington since the historic 2004-05 hurricane seasons:
• Strengthened 13 main power lines, including those that serve critical services that are necessary for communities to recover faster after major storms.
• Inspecting and clearing tree branches and vegetation.
• Reviewed 2,601 miles of power lines, clearing an average of 173 miles of tree branches and vegetation per year.
• Inspected all 14,174 power poles every eight years.
• Installed smart grid technology, including 601 automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines.
• Inspected 91 main power lines using infrared technology.
As part of the Storm Protection Plan approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, FPL estimates that between 300 and 500 neighborhood power lines will be placed underground annually from 2021 to 2022.
Over the next 10 years, FPL plans to continue investing about $1 billion annually on storm hardening. These programs are a continuation of the company’s existing hardening programs and have benefited customers by successfully reducing restoration costs and outage times during major storms, as well as improving day-to-day service reliability.
“FPL’s efforts to build the nation’s most intelligent and reliable energy grid have resulted in a more than 40 percent improvement in service reliability since 2006 for our customers,” said Manny Miranda, senior vice president of power delivery for FPL. “As our service reliability has improved, we continue our efforts to embrace emerging technology to find innovative ways to deliver reliable and affordable energy.”
Since 2006, FPL has invested more than $5 billion throughout the state, as well as ongoing maintenance and improvement work, to make the energy grid stronger and smarter.