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FPL mobilizes for Fay restoration response

Aug 18, 2008

  •   Customers urged to prepare for power outages
  •      Customers asked to call FPL only for emergency situations,
         use automated system to report outages
  •      Company assembles 4,600 field personnel for first response
  •      FPL has a well-tested plan of action to respond to outages
  •      Safety is FPL’s first priority, before, during, after a storm

JUNO BEACH, Fla. -- Florida Power & Light Company is moving crews and equipment into position to mount a restoration response to any facilities damaged by Fay. While uncertainties remain about the storm’s path and intensity, FPL is asking its customers to plan for potential power outages. 

FPL has secured commitments from out-of-state utilities for personnel to work alongside FPL crews restoring service. These personnel are being positioned in Miami-Dade and Broward counties as these areas are most likely to be first affected by Fay. This will enable the restoration to begin as soon as the storm passes and it is safe to do so.

“Some of our customers will be affected by outages due to wind, fallen trees, blowing debris or flooding. We understand how inconvenient this will be. Our goal is to restore any service interruptions as quickly as possible. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will begin any required restoration in the areas that feel Fay’s first effects and then follow behind the storm, restoring power as we go until every customer is back in service,” said FPL Director of Customer Support Irene White.

FPL asks customers to call only for emergency situations, use automated system to report outages

In the first 24 hours after the storm passes, FPL is asking customers to call only for emergency situations.  Customers should call 911 or 1-800-4-OUTAGE in the event of emergency situations such as downed power lines that pose a clear and imminent danger. If customers have already reported a downed power line, it is not necessary to call and report it again.

Customers can also call FPL to report an outage using FPL’s automated system.  Using the FPL account number or their phone number, customers can quickly report their outage through FPL's automated system.  Customers with internet access can also report their outage at www.FPL.com.

FPL assembles 4,600 field personnel for first response

To support the restoration, FPL has secured commitments from out-of-state utilities for more than 2,500 additional workers, for a total of more than 4,600 workers to clear vegetation and debris and repair power lines and other infrastructure after the storm has passed.

In addition, the company currently has plans to operate seven restoration staging sites in Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier, Charlotte and Sarasota counties and can add additional sites as required.  

FPL has been working closely with emergency management officials to review emergency plans that affect the critical facilities of the communities the company serves. These include facilities such as police, fire, hospitals, communications, water, sanitation services and transportation facilities.

Depending on the ultimate path and intensity of the storm, Fay could cause damage to both overhead and underground electrical facilities. Damage could be caused by extensive rainfall, flooding, high winds, blowing debris or fallen trees, among other factors. The resulting damage can require significant repairs. Customers should be aware that restoration efforts in the wake of a storm may be hampered by flooding, fallen structures and other obstacles. In the meantime, FPL’s crews will continue working in the field as long as it as safe to do so.

FPL has a well-tested plan of action to respond to outages

Prior to the start of a storm season, FPL conducts extensive training to prepare its employees to respond quickly and safely if a storm strikes FPL’s service territory.

FPL works closely with emergency operations officials throughout its service territory to update lists of infrastructure and facilities that are critical to the community, such as hospitals, police, fire, communications, water, sanitation services and transportation providers. This information is used to establish priorities for restoration in any communities that are affected by Fay.

When outages occur, FPL understands that its customers need information about when their power will be restored so they can plan. If Fay impacts FPL’s service territory, FPL will be working to restore power as soon as it is safe to begin and will provide its best estimates of when service will be restored. Immediately after the storm passes, FPL will deploy field teams to conduct damage assessments. This helps FPL assign the right resources, crews and materials to each effort and provide customers with an estimate of when repairs will be finished and power restored in their areas. 

As the restoration gets under way, customers are advised to monitor local radio, television, newspapers and the FPL Web site (www.FPL.com) for specific reports on progress assessing and repairing damage to the electric system in their areas.

FPL’s restoration plan calls for restoring power to the greatest number of customers safely and as quickly as possible concurrent with the restoration of a community’s critical infrastructure. FPL does not assign restoration work according to when a customer calls to report an outage, where a customer lives, or the status of an account.  FPL begins work in multiple locations and follows an overall plan that prioritizes groups over individuals:

  • FPL first restores power plants and affected transmission lines and substations, which are essential to providing electric service.
  • Simultaneously, the company restores power to the electrical infrastructure that serves critical facilities such as hospitals, police/fire stations, water plants and emergency broadcast centers. 
  • At the same time, FPL works to return service to the largest number of customers in the shortest amount of time — including service to the main thoroughfares that host supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and other needed community services.
  • From here, FPL repairs the infrastructure serving smaller groups and neighborhoods, converging on the hardest hit areas until every customer is restored.

Throughout a restoration, FPL will communicate frequently through the news media and www.FPL.com to provide updated estimated times of restoration and other status reports. Once restoration is complete and power is restored to every customer whose home or business can receive it, FPL enters into a recovery phase focused on returning the system to its pre-storm state. 

Safety is FPL’s first priority before, during and after a storm

FPL advises its customers to learn all they can about how to prepare for a storm, what to do during a storm, and how to make safety a priority after a storm when utilities and normal community services may be interrupted. Customers are advised to:

  • Visit www.FPL.com/storm for preparation tips and follow the advice of your local emergency management officials.
  • Customers using a portable generator should check the manufacturer’s recommendations and follow them for proper use. If your plan includes operating a portable generator, wait until the storm has passed and be sure to set it up outside and connect appliances directly to it.  Please do not wire your generator directly to your breaker or fuse box, because the power you generate may flow back into power lines and cause injuries. Only a licensed electrician should connect a generator to a main electrical panel. Never operate a generator inside your home or even in the garage, and keep generators well away from open windows so exhaust does not enter your home or a neighbor’s home.
  • Stay far away from downed power lines, flooding and debris. Don’t walk in standing water and don’t venture out in the dark because you might not see a downed power line that could be energized and dangerous.  If you see a downed power line, call 911 or FPL at 1-800-4-OUTAGE.
  • For additional safety tips, visit www.FPL.com.

Florida Power & Light Company is a subsidiary of FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE: FPL). Florida Power & Light Company serves 4.5 million customer accounts in 35 counties in Florida. Additional information is available at www.FPL.com.

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