Florida Power & Light Company Announces New Storm Brevard County Hardening Plan

By  //  June 28, 2016

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$1.75 billion to be invested over next three years

ABOVE VIDEO: Florida Power & Light Company held its annual storm drill last May, testing more than 3,500 employees to respond to Hurricane Falcon – a virtual Category 3 storm. During the drill, FPL tested new technology, including a mobile damage assessment application that will help the company speed restoration in the aftermath of a hurricane. Storm Hardening is an ongoing constant effort with all of the advances in technology each year. (FPL Video)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA — Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) recently outlined its electric system upgrades in Melbourne and surrounding areas, as part of the company’s overall 2016-2018 storm hardening plan.

The enhancements, which have helped FPL achieve the best system reliability in Florida and 50 percent better than the national average, will position the company to deliver even greater reliable electric service for customers year-round.

“Our three-year storm hardening plan will help us deliver reliable service to our customers in Melbourne, thanks to a more resilient energy grid,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.

“Our customers are already seeing the benefits of strengthened power lines, with hardened lines showing on average a 40 percent improvement in everyday performance. Through a number of new projects in the area, we will deliver even better service they can count on in good weather and bad.”

Eric Silagy
Eric Silagy

Improvements within the statewide plan include the completion of hardening main (feeder) power lines serving critical community facilities, upgrading the main power lines across FPL’s service area, initiating upgrades of smaller neighborhood (lateral) power lines and continuing to replace wooden transmission line structures with steel and concrete towers.

FPL will also continue to deploy tens of thousands of intelligent devices and smart switches — in addition to the 36,000 installed to date — to help detect and predict problems and restore service faster when outages occur. 

Improvements In Brevard County

This year’s investment includes upgrades to two main power lines serving key facilities in the area. The projects strengthen the electric system to better withstand major storms and allow for faster service restoration following power outages.

The work consists of installing stronger power poles — including, in some projects, concrete poles designed to withstand wind gusts of up to 130 mph.

Manny Miranda
Manny Miranda

“FPL is continuing to invest in building a stronger and smarter grid that our customers in the Melbourne area can count on year-round,” said Manny Miranda, senior vice president of Power Delivery for FPL.

“For example, we’re upgrading the system supplying energy to a local 911 dispatch center, Brevard County Sheriff’s Department Complex and the Florida Gas Transmission Company. This not only allows us to restore power to our customers faster, but it aids in getting life back to normal quicker when customers need us the most.”

FPL will also install nine automated switches on main power lines and 129 automated switches on smaller power lines serving neighborhoods and subdivisions.

The automated devices detect and prevent potential problems along the energy grid, as well as restore and reroute power, when necessary, to reduce the number of customers affected by an outage.

When the planned 2016 work is completed, FPL will have made the following improvements in and near Melbourne since 2006:

  • Strengthened 16 main power lines, including those serving critical local facilities, such as the Viera Hospital, the Melbourne Police Department headquarters and the West Melbourne Public Works office.
  • Inspected 21,480 power poles, restoring or replacing those that no longer meet the company’s standards for strength;
  • Cleared 1,945 miles of power lines of trees and vegetation — a major cause of power outages;
  • Inspected 77 main power lines and equipment using the latest infrared technology, helping FPL address issues before they cause outages; and
  • Installed smart grid technology, including 38 automated switches on main power lines and 631 automated switches on smaller power lines serving neighborhoods, to help detect and prevent power issues and get life back to normal faster if outages occur.
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Since 2006, FPL has invested more than $2 billion across its 35-county service area — in addition to ongoing system maintenance and improvement work — to make the energy grid stronger and smarter. This includes:

  • Strengthening more than 600 main power lines, including those that serve more than 700 critical community facilities such as hospitals, police and fire stations, and emergency communication systems;
  • Clearing vegetation — a major cause of power outages — from more than 135,000 miles of power lines;
  • Inspecting all power poles — more than 1.4 million — and upgrading or replacing those that no longer meet our standards for strength; and
  • Installing more than 4.8 million smart meters and 36,000 intelligent devices along the energy grid using advanced technology that helps detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur.