As Floridians turn their attention to the tropics this storm season, Florida Power & Light Company reminds customers that no utility is hurricane proof. While the company’s careful investments since 2006 have made its electric system more resilient to severe weather, hurricanes are powerful forces of nature that cause significant damage, and including potential widespread electricity outages.
"Hurricanes are powerful forces of nature that can cause significant damage and widespread electricity outages,” said FPL President Eric Silagy. “FPL has a well-developed plan for storm restoration. We train rigorously and we are prepared."
Customers’ storm plans, like those of FPL, should anticipate that a direct strike by a major hurricane could damage the electric system so significantly that many customers could experience power outages. FPL asks customers to be prepared to be without power for several days should a powerful storm bring devastation. The following tips will help customers to best be prepared for power outages this storm season:
FPL’s Storm Preparation Checklist for Customers
- Review family emergency plans for back-up power and relocating;
- Update the phone number and e-mail address on file with FPL;
- Keep a copy of a recent FPL bill in your storm kit so key phone numbers and account information are readily available;
- Ensure that you have all necessary adapters to charge cell phones or laptopsfrom a generator, solar charger or car charger;
- Those dependent on electric-powered, life-sustaining medical equipment should know relocation arrangements now for when a storm warning is issued;
- If customers haven’t done so already, they should have their trees properly trimmed by a trained line-clearing professional. This minimizes the potential for debris to impact the power lines for homes and neighborhoods. It is important to have debris cleared prior to a hurricane warning announcement when trash pickup is suspended. For more information on FPL’s tree trimming policies, visit Trees and Power Lines;
- Gather and test essential supplies needed during power outages:
o Two-week supply of fresh batteries
o Battery-operated radios
o Extension cords
o Emergency generators;
Now is the time to test portable generators. Make sure the equipment works, know how to operate it and where to safely use the equipment. For more information, visit ourGenerator Safety web page.
How FPL Communicates with Customers Regarding a Storm
When outages occur, FPL understands that its customers need to know when their power will be restored so they can plan ahead. That’s why FPL communicates frequently through the news media and makes its communications accessible on smart phones and tablets, through such sites as:
How Customers Can Best Communicate with FPL
After a storm, FPL is aware that customers are without power and urges them to call FPL only for emergency situations.
- FPL urges customers to keep its phone lines open for emergency situations.
- Customers should call 911 or 1-800-4-OUTAGE if they see a downed power line.
- FPL is aware that customers are without power so there is no need to report outages at this time. If you have already reported a downed power line, it is not necessary to call and report it again.
- However, if customers still find themselves without service, even though their neighborhood or area of business has been mostly restored, we want to hear from them. If customers are in this situation, they should call FPL at 1-800-4-OUTAGE, as they may be experiencing a more localized problem with their electric service and we want to restore their power safely and as quickly as possible.
FPL’s Pre-Storm Activities
Prior to the start of storm season, FPL conducts extensive training to prepare its employees to respond safely and as quickly as possible if a storm threatens FPL’s service territory. To get ready for storm season, FPL also coordinates assistance agreements with other utilities for out-of state support, orders restoration supplies and equipment, and secures staging sites throughout its 35-county service territory. These preparations enable the company to quickly deploy equipment and crews to storm-damaged communities.
FPL’s plan recognizes that restoration of power to its customers will vary not only on the path and intensity of the storm through FPL’s service territory, but also on how the storm impacts other utilities and how quickly additional restoration workers and supplies can reach Florida.
In addition, FPL works closely with emergency operations officials to update lists of Critical Infrastructure Facilities, such as hospitals, police and fire stations, communication facilities, water treatment plants, and transportation providers. This information is used to establish priorities for restoration in any communities that might be affected by a storm.
Year-round, FPL proactively makes its infrastructure more resilient to strong winds and less likely to be impacted by debris as part of its comprehensive, long-term plan to deliver reliable electric service, in good weather and bad. These efforts include:
- Clearing tree limbs and branches from power lines;
- Inspecting poles for strength and health;
- Upgrading poles, many of which are replaced with concrete or steel, and;
- Inspecting power lines and equipment with infrared technology.