FPL Continues to Update Energy Grid in Brevard as Hurricane Season Will Begin June 1

By  //  April 7, 2021

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between 300-500 neighborhood power lines will be placed underground annually from 2021-22

The official start of hurricane season is June 1, but after six years in a row of named storms forming ahead of that date, the National Hurricane Center recently announced it will begin issuing daily outlooks starting May 15 – two weeks earlier than in the past. FPL customers in Palm Bay and Melbourne continue to benefit from the company’s ongoing work to strengthen the energy grid and improve service reliability, according to FPL officials. (FPL image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The official start of hurricane season is June 1, but after six years in a row of named storms forming ahead of that date, the National Hurricane Center recently announced it will begin issuing daily outlooks starting May 15 – two weeks earlier than in the past.

The decision came after the 2020 hurricane season shattered records with 30 named storms, including two that formed in May.

Preparation is more important now than ever and the Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) has continued to strengthen and modernize the energy grid to make it smarter and more storm resilient.

Since 2006, the company has invested more than $5 billion throughout Florida and has strengthened the energy grid serving Palm Bay and Melbourne as part of 2021 reliability and storm preparedness efforts.

FPL customers in Palm Bay and Melbourne continue to benefit from the company’s ongoing work to strengthen the energy grid and improve service reliability, according to FPL officials.

FPL investments, which include strengthening power lines and poles, trimming trees near power lines, 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.

“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.”

In 2018, FPL began a pilot program known as the Storm Secure Underground Program after Hurricane Irma, which was implemented to cost-effectively move overhead power lines underground in targeted communities.

In neighborhoods including Palm Bay and Melbourne that have experienced a history of vegetation-related interruptions, the program’s goal is to enhance customers’ service reliability and the energy grid’s resiliency. As of Dec. 31, 2020, more than 240 SSUP projects have been completed throughout the company’s service area.

In neighborhoods including Palm Bay and Melbourne that have experienced a history of vegetation-related interruptions, the program’s goal is to enhance customers’ service reliability and the energy grid’s resiliency. (FPL image)

FPL plans to make the following improvements in and near Palm Bay this year:

■ Ten Storm Secure Underground Program (SSUP) projects planned

■ Strengthening seven 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 — a major cause of power outages — from 83 miles of power lines

■ As of this year, will have inspected 100% of power poles in Palm Bay over the past eight-year inspection cycle, strengthening or replacing those that no longer meet FPL’s standards

■ Installing smart grid technology, including five automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines to help detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur

■ Inspecting one main power line 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 Palm Bay since the historic 2004-2005 hurricane seasons:

■ Strengthened 20 main power lines, including those that serve critical services
■ Reviewed 3,958 miles of power lines, clearing an average of 264 miles of tree branches and vegetation per year

■ Inspected all 35,514 power poles every eight years

■ Installed smart grid technology, including 3,278 automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines

■ Inspected 108 main power lines and equipment using infrared technology

FPL plans to make the following improvements in and near Melbourne this year:

■ One Storm Secure Underground Program (SSUP) project planned

■ Strengthening ten 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 — a major cause of power outages — from 26 miles of power lines

■ As of this year, will have inspected 100% of power poles in Melbourne over the past eight-year inspection cycle, strengthening or replacing those that no longer meet FPL’s standards

■ Installing smart grid technology, including six automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines to help detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur

■ Inspecting five 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 Melbourne since the historic 2004-2005 hurricane seasons:

■ Strengthened 29 main power lines, including those that serve critical services

■ Reviewed 2,967 miles of power lines, clearing an average of 197 miles of tree branches and vegetation per year

■ Inspected all 18,116 power poles every eight years

■ Installed smart grid technology, including 2,006 automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines

■ Inspected 120 main power lines and equipment 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% 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.”

NHC Predicts 16 Named Storms for Upcoming Atlantic Hurricane Season, Releases Names for 2021Related Story:
NHC Predicts 16 Named Storms for Upcoming Atlantic Hurricane Season, Releases Names for 2021

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