JUNO BEACH, Fla., Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company today announced that it has cleared trees and palm fronds from 100,000 miles of power lines throughout its 35-county service territory in Florida since 2006. This major accomplishment, which is the equivalent to a distance four times the earth's circumference, is part of the company's comprehensive program it initiated after seven storms hit FPL's service area in 2004-2005, to make the electric system more resilient against severe weather and improve everyday reliability. In June, FPL announced another major milestone related to this program as the company inspected its one-millionth distribution pole as part of its commitment to inspect 1.1 million poles every eight years.
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"We understand how important reliable electricity is to our customers," said FPL Vice President of Power Delivery Manny Miranda. "Tree limbs and palm fronds growing near power lines are a leading cause of both power outages and flickering of lights. As a result, clearing vegetation from our 36,000 miles of overhead power lines, and in some instances, tree removal, are essential elements of our plan to deliver reliable electric service to our customers."
FPL clears vegetation from about 15,000 miles of overhead distribution power lines every year, or approximately 60 miles of lines every business day – that is equivalent to the distance from Miami to West Palm Beach. That includes the lines serving key facilities such as hospitals, police and fire stations. Additionally, FPL clears vegetation from its main power lines every three years and neighborhood lines every six years, on average. The majority of the scheduled line- clearing work is completed before September, which is the height of storm season, to help minimize the amount of debris that can fly into poles and wires during windy weather.
"While we deliver more than 99.98 percent service reliability to our customers, we are never satisfied," said Miranda. "That's why we're using geographic information system technology, or GIS, to further analyze factors such as environmental conditions, tree density and growth rates to help identify and address vegetation related power outages before they occur, in addition to our planned tree-trimming schedule."
What customers can do
Customers can do their part in making sure that trees and other vegetation do not become an issue by:
- Planting trees so that they do not interfere with power lines – even when they have grown to maturity. FPL offers information on recommended trees to plant along with help in considering where to plant them with its "Right Tree, Right Place" program.
- Routinely trimming trees on their property away from power lines. Do not wait for a hurricane to approach to do this work as the tree debris may become dangerous with storm-force winds. Never attempt to trim any vegetation growing near overhead power lines themselves – hire qualified line-clearing professionals to do the work.
FPL urges customers to stay safe and stay far away from power lines at all times.
- Outdoor work, such as trimming trees, making home repairs and picking fruit, can put customers at risk of deadly contact with power lines. Never attempt to trim any vegetation growing near power lines.
- Stay more than 10 feet away from neighborhood power lines and at least 35 feet from larger high-voltage lines.
- Never use tools or equipment near power lines.
- Hire qualified line-clearing professionals to trim trees near power lines.
- Visit www.FPL.com/safety for more information on how to stay safe around electricity.
To learn more about FPL's line-clearing program and what customers can do to help improve their service reliability, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YbOvuqoobw.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest rate-regulated electric utility in Florida and serves the third-largest number of customers of any electric utility in the United States. FPL serves approximately 4.6 million customer accounts and is a leading Florida employer with approximately 10,000 employees as of year-end 2012. During the five-year period ended December 31, 2012, the company delivered the best service reliability among Florida investor-owned utilities. As of year-end 2012, its typical residential customer bills are the lowest in Florida, and based on data available in July 2012, are about 26 percent below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.FPL.com.
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company