FPL Strengthens Electric Grid Serving Melbourne As Part of 2017 Reliability and Storm Preparedness Efforts
By Space Coast Daily // May 25, 2017
building a stronger and smarter electric grid
FPL continues to make improvements to enhance service reliability to customers in good weather and bad.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA — Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) continues to upgrade its system in the Melbourne area as part of its ongoing work to strengthen the power grid and improve service reliability.
Company investments, which include strengthening power lines and power poles, trimming trees around power lines and installing smart grid technology, help make the grid more reliable day-to-day and more storm-resilient.
“We continue to build a stronger and smarter electric grid to provide our customers with reliable service year-round,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.
“Our ongoing investments in strengthening the electric grid and utilizing advanced smart grid technology help us deliver electricity our customers can count on in good weather and bad. This was never more evident than during last year’s hurricane season.”
FPL’s investments to the grid were tested last year during Hurricane Matthew and demonstrated its benefits to customers. FPL restored 99 percent of customers affected by Hurricane Matthew by the end of two full days of restoration following the hurricane’s exit from its service area.
Smart grid automated switches on FPL’s system prevented 118,000 customer interruptions, and strengthened main power lines performed 30 percent better than non-strengthened main power lines. Furthermore, no FPL transmission poles or hardened main power line poles failed.
For everyday reliability, strengthened power lines perform approximately 40 percent better than lines that have not been strengthened, which improves reliability and speeds restoration efforts during severe weather such as afternoon summer thunderstorms.
2017 Improvements in the Melbourne Area
When the planned 2017 work is completed, FPL will have made the following improvements in and near Melbourne since 2006:
- Strengthened 17 main power lines, including those that serve all critical and community services, such as Viera Hospital, Melbourne Police Department headquarters and West Melbourne Public Works office, which are necessary for communities to recover after a storm;
- Cleared tree branches and vegetation — a major cause of power outages — from 244 miles of power lines every year, and more than 2,685 miles since 2006;
- Inspected all 22,610 power poles every eight years, strengthening or replacing those that no longer meet the company’s standards for strength;
- Installed smart grid technology, including 27 automated switches on main power lines and 1,277 automated switches on smaller power lines serving neighborhoods, to help detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur; and
- Inspected 103 main power lines and equipment using infrared technology to detect issues before they cause a power interruption.
“FPL has the most reliable service of any investor-owned energy company in Florida, but we are never satisfied,” said Manny Miranda, senior vice president of power delivery for FPL.
“We’re working hard every day to provide our customers within the Melbourne area with electric service they can count on. This includes several new projects in the area, such as strengthening the main power line to a natural gas pipeline company.”
Strengthening the FPL Grid Throughout Florida
Since 2006, FPL has invested more than $2.7 billion, as well as ongoing maintenance and improvement work, to make the energy grid stronger and smarter.
- Strengthening main power lines, including those that serve more than 700 critical community facilities and services, such as hospitals, police and fire stations, grocery stores, gas stations and other services necessary for communities to recover after a storm;
- Clearing vegetation — a major cause of power outages — from more than 15,000 miles of power lines annually;
- Inspecting the company’s 1.2 million power poles every eight years, and upgrading or replacing those that no longer meet our standards for strength; and
- Installing 4.9 million smart meters and 66,000 intelligent devices along the energy grid using advanced technology that helps detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur.
Florida Power & Light Company Serves 10 Million People
Florida Power & Light Company is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving approximately 4.9 million customer accounts or an estimated 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida.
FPL’s typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 25 percent lower than the latest national average and, in 2016, was the lowest in Florida among reporting utilities for the seventh year in a row. FPL’s service reliability is better than 99.98 percent, and its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among all utilities nationwide.
The company received the top ranking in the southern U.S. among large electric providers, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, and was recognized in 2016 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities by Market Strategies International.
A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,900 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, and has been ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune’s 2017 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies.”
NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun.
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