JUNO BEACH, Fla. – Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) delivered its best-ever overall reliability in 2019 through continued improvements to the energy grid, benefiting its more than 5 million customers. The annual reliability report, which FPL filed today with the Florida Public Service Commission, details how the company delivered on its 2019 commitments to strengthen and modernize its system and how its investments in the energy grid are benefiting customers.
“Our customers are experiencing fewer momentary interruptions, or flickers, and fewer outages than ever before because we continue to build a stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient grid,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “And, we will continue to use emerging technology to find new, innovative ways to deliver cleaner and more reliable energy to more than 10 million Floridians while keeping bills approximately 30% below the national average.”
FPL has invested over $5 billion since 2006 to improve the grid and provide outstanding service reliability to its customers. These improvements led to the company’s best-ever overall reliability performance last year, and the industry has noticed. For the fourth time in five years, FPL was awarded the ReliabilityOne™ National Reliability Award, presented by PA Consulting.
Additionally, FPL’s use of smart devices and other innovative technology to help prevent outages and shorten restoration times when outages occur earned the company the ReliabilityOne™ Award for Outstanding Technology & Innovation and the Outstanding Reliability Performance Award for the Southeast region.
FPL plans to continue developing new technology to deliver outstanding service to its customers, including improved customer outage information available to field restoration crews through advanced mobile applications that make diagnosing problems easier; and expanding the use of smart meter information by creating multiple applications including a restoration confirmation feature.
“We’re going to keep doing what we are doing to harden our system and deliver the reliable power our customers expect, because it’s working,” said FPL Senior Vice President of Power Delivery Manny Miranda. “We’re seeing that hardened power lines perform 40% better in day-to-day operations, which means fewer outages are experienced by customers. And in severe weather like Hurricane Irma in 2017, every hardened transmission structure – the backbone of the energy grid – withstood the significant impacts of the hurricane.”
The company will continue its efforts to complete the hardening, or strengthening, of all remaining main distribution power lines, which deliver energy to neighborhoods. Last year, FPL exceeded the important milestone of strengthening or undergrounding 50% of its main power lines. The company is also upgrading its transmission line structures, which carry high-voltage power from power plants to substations, by replacing all wood structures with concrete or steel. At the end of 2019, 96% of FPL’s total transmission structures were steel or concrete. All transmission structures are planned to be either steel or concrete by year-end 2022.
FPL will also continue its Storm Secure Underground Program pilot, which converts overhead power lines to underground lines in select neighborhoods. This three-year pilot, initiated in 2018 as a result of lessons learned from Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, focuses on areas with a history of vegetation-related outages and other reliability issues. To date, 35 neighborhood power lines have been converted from overhead to underground.
Since 2006, the billions of dollars FPL has invested in reliability and storm hardening preparedness initiatives have significantly strengthened the energy grid and provides the best-ever service reliability to its customers. These initiatives include:
- Hardening or undergrounding power lines, including exceeding important milestones in 2019 of having hardened or undergrounded 50% of all main distribution power lines, and replacing wood transmission structures so that 96% of these are now concrete or steel
- Maintaining trees and vegetation along more than 15,000 miles of distribution power lines each year. Vegetation-related outages are a major cause of power outages day-to-day and during severe weather. In 2019, when FPL’s service territory was impacted by Hurricane Dorian, vegetation was the primary cause of outages. For this reason, underground power lines performed better than overhead lines.
- Upgrading or replacing distribution power poles that no longer meet FPL's industry-leading standards for strength while inspecting all of the company’s 1.2 million power poles within an 8-year cycle (approximately 150,000 poles inspected annually)
- Upgrading FPL’s infrastructure with more than 120,000 intelligent devices that prevent power outages and help to restore power faster if an outage occurs
- Placing existing overhead power lines underground through FPL’s Storm Secure Underground Program pilot to enhance customers’ service reliability and the energy grid’s resiliency while, at the same time, studying the most cost-effective ways to complete the conversion.
FPL’s investments in smart grid devices and technology have already provided significant benefits for customers, day-to-day as well as during storms. For example, during Hurricane Irma in 2017, automated feeder switches (AFS) enabled the company to avoid more than 546,000 outages for its customers through the storm and restore service to thousands of customers even before it was safe for FPL trucks to roll.
In 2020, FPL will continue to focus on the use of smart grid technology and is installing new automated transformer switches (ATS). These smart devices are replacing standard fuses in transformers with automated, resettable ones. It helps reduce unnecessary maintenance because crews no longer have to go out for a simple fix from a temporary fault, which improves reliability closer to customers’ homes and businesses.
“We know our customers depend on electricity more and more in today’s high-tech world. That’s why we continually improve our system in ways that will benefit customers, and why we work hard to serve them every day,” said Miranda.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest energy company in the United States as measured by retail electricity produced and sold, serving more than 5 million customer accounts or an estimated 10 million+ people across the state of Florida. FPL’s typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 30% lower than the latest national average and among the lowest in the U.S. FPL’s service reliability is better than 99.98%, and its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among all electric companies nationwide. The company was recognized in 2019 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities by Escalent for the sixth consecutive year. A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,900 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, and has been ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune’s 2020 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies.” NextEra Energy is also the parent company of Gulf Power Company, which serves more than 470,000 customers in eight counties throughout northwest Florida, and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a world leader in battery storage. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.FPL.com, www.GulfPower.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.