Did you know FPL’s service reliability ranks in the top 25 percent of utilities nationwide?
Florida Power & Light’s Delivery Assurance Lead, Eli Cueto, can see things most of us would never even notice. He sees problems before they develop. Think of him as a detective who patrols the electric grid.
“Doing this, I get to fulfill a lot of things that I like, which is field work, and investigating and uncovering potential problems,” he says.
This detective’s tool of choice? An advanced infrared camera, which he carries in a black suitcase as he patrols the power lines across Florida in his FPL van.
“If you’re looking at a section of an overhead line, everything could appear fine,” he says. “You could look at it with binoculars and still everything looks good.”
Cueto says if he stopped there, and relied only on his eyesight, he would miss the most important evidence of all – the clue that’s the key to delivering reliable service. Opening his suitcase and flipping on his infrared camera, Cueto reveals what’s really going on inside the fuse switch, fixed 60 feet high atop an FPL pole.
“The way it works is that the camera picks up the infrared energy being displayed, so the brighter the color, the hotter the temperature,” Cueto says, pointing to a purplish image on the camera screen.
In the center of the image, he points to a bright white circle. “What we are seeing right here is a hot fuse switch. We can see it right here on the camera that it is overheating. The temperature, it’s over 150 degrees, so we know that it’s a candidate for replacement.”
Cueto returns to his office and uploads the infrared image to his computer. He calls up a database that provides more information about the specific pole and switch. The information he discovers helps him create a work order for his team, which can then perform preventive maintenance on the equipment and avoid a potential outage for customers. Like a good detective, Cueto followed the clues, determined the cause and cracked the case.
“I think FPL sets a standard, because we actually take the initiative to go out there and evaluate all the facilities that we have,” says Cueto. He is part of a team of 26 FPL employees and contractors who use infrared technology to help provide reliable service.
“What I like best about my job is knowing that I’m making a difference for FPL customers every day and helping to deliver affordable and reliable power.”
High-res photos and B-roll is available in the Digital Library