Florida Power & Light (FPL) plans to upgrade the energy grid in Wellington in 2022 to enhance day-to-day reliability for customers and improve resiliency in the face of severe weather.
Strengthening power poles, maintaining trees and vegetation near power lines, installing smart grid technology, regularly inspecting equipment and undergrounding neighborhood power lines in targeted areas have helped improve service reliability by 45 percent for FPL customers over the past decade.
FPL is also continuing to boost reliability by putting more power lines underground in neighborhoods that can most benefit based on an analysis of past hurricane outages, vegetation-related service interruptions and other reliability data. FPL’s Storm Secure Underground Pilot Program, launched in 2018, has completed about 600 neighborhood projects through the end of 2021, and FPL plans to bring the benefits of undergrounding to more neighborhoods across Florida in the future.
“We understand how much our customers depend on the critical service we provide. That’s why our team works tirelessly to continuously improve the energy grid across our service area,” said Eric Silagy, chairman and CEO of FPL. “We know that in Florida it’s not a matter of if, but when, the next storm will impact our state. Our disciplined infrastructure and technology investments are improving day-to-day service for customers and helping us speed restoration after a storm.”
FPL plans to make the following improvements in and near Wellington this year:
• 109 Storm Secure Underground Pilot Program projects planned.
• Strengthening four main power lines, including those that serve critical services that are necessary for communities to recover faster after major storms.
• Maintaining trees and vegetation — a common cause of power outages, particularly during hurricanes and severe weather — along 132 miles of power lines.
• Inspecting 2,434 power poles in Wellington as part of an eight-year inspection cycle, strengthening or replacing those that no longer meet FPL’s industry-leading standards.
• Installing smart grid technology, including nine automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines to help detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur.
• Inspecting 21 main power lines and equipment using infrared technology to detect issues before they cause a power interruption.
When the planned 2022 work is completed, FPL will have made the following improvements in and near Wellington since the historic 2004-05 hurricane seasons:
• Strengthened 12 main power lines, including those that serve critical services.
• Inspected and maintained vegetation near 1,707 miles of power lines — an average of 107 miles per year.
• Inspected all 6,493 power poles every eight years.
• Installed smart grid technology, including 373 automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines.
• Inspected 83 main power lines and equipment using infrared technology.
FPL’s adoption of emerging technology helps improve day-to-day service reliability. Drones and robots are used to conduct regular assessments and locate potential power issues to fix many problems before they affect customers. Intelligent devices can automatically redirect power, self-heal and eliminate or minimize customers affected — resulting in more than 10 million outages avoided over the last decade.
“We continue to deploy innovative and industry-leading solutions that improve the grid — investments that are paying off for our customers,” said Manny Miranda, executive vice president of power delivery for FPL. “We are always looking for new ways to enhance the reliability of our service. From examining lessons learned from past storms to incorporating new advancements, we are seeing the value of our efforts every day.”
Since 2006, FPL has made significant investments to harden the grid against hurricanes and extreme weather and enhance day-to-day reliability.
The improvements continue to benefit customers across FPL’s service area in many ways. In 2021, the average FPL customer experienced the fewest outages and momentary interruptions or flickers of any year in company history and the shortest overall duration of outages ever.
FPL in 2021 won the ReliabilityOne National Reliability Award for the sixth time in seven years. Presented by PA Consulting, the award is widely regarded in the energy industry as one of the most prestigious honors and reinforces FPL’s commitment to provide its more than 5.7 million customers with the nation’s most reliable service.