JUNO BEACH, Fla. -- More than 3,500 Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) employees participated in the company’s intensive annual storm drill this week testing their response to a simulated hurricane. The drill is a critical component of FPL's extensive year-round training to ensure employees are ready to respond when customers need them most.
During the simulated exercise, Hurricane Constantine – a mock Category 3 storm – made a simulated landfall near Panama City. FPL employees were evaluated on their response and restoration efforts, including operations, logistics, communications and customer service.
“FPL works continuously to improve the way we respond to hurricanes and how we keep our customers informed about restorations,” said Eric Silagy, chairman and CEO of FPL. “Our goal to get power restored safely and as quickly as possible has not changed. With our continued use of advanced technologies and the unwavering commitment of our employees to be there for customers when they need us most, FPL is more prepared for storm season than ever before. Still, it’s important to remember that no system is hurricane proof. That’s why it’s critical that all Floridians – regardless of whether they’ve experienced a storm – ensure they have a plan in place. The actions all of us take today – before a hurricane is on approach to Florida – will make a meaningful difference in how we recover as a state.”
The upcoming hurricane season marks 30 years since the unprecedented destruction of Hurricane Andrew and five years since Hurricane Irma -- two historic storms that serve as stark reminders of the importance of storm preparation.
“FPL learns from every storm, and the milestone anniversaries of Andrew and Irma remind us that we must always look for innovative ways to approach how we restore power and serve our customers,” said Manny Miranda, executive vice president of FPL power delivery. “Today, we can respond to hurricanes better than ever as a result of the lessons we’ve learned from previous storms and the improvements we’ve made, using advanced technologies and the experience of our team.”
Since the historic 2004-05 hurricane seasons, FPL has made significant investments to protect the grid against extreme weather and improve day-to-day reliability. These include:
- Replacing wooden transmission structures with new ones made of steel or concrete.
- Hardening main power lines that serve critical community facilities and services.
- Inspecting power poles and replacing those that no longer meet FPL’s standards for strength.
- Installing more than 195,000 intelligent devices along the grid to detect and prevent power outages and minimize restoration times when outages occur. These devices have helped customers avoid nearly 750,000 outages during Irma and other named storms since 2017.
- Managing trees and other vegetation along thousands of miles of power lines each year to reduce a leading cause of outages.
- Placing more neighborhood power lines underground through the Storm Secure Underground Pilot Program, which has completed more than 600 projects through the end of 2021. Underground neighborhood power lines performed 85% better than overhead lines during Hurricane Irma and are more than 50% more reliable on a day-to-day basis.
As part of the exercise, FPL also showcased innovative technology used to assist with storm restoration, including drones, which are used to assess damage safely and quickly after a storm and can often reach areas inaccessible to crews on the ground. The company also provided a preview of its new FPLAir One fixed wing drone that is expected to begin serving customers later this year. The drone, the size of a small aircraft, can fly up to a thousand miles without needing to refuel, gathering real-time information and identifying the causes of outages.
Customers urged to connect with FPL
While investments in building a stronger and smarter energy grid demonstrate FPL’s ongoing preparations for hurricanes and severe weather, FPL reminds its customers that every storm is different, along with the damage that comes with it, and urges customers to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.
The company provides information to customers to help them prepare for hurricane season and communicates with them after a severe-weather event. FPL.com/storm features checklists and other information listed in the locations below to help customers prepare and develop their own hurricane plans:
Editor’s note: B-roll of Hurricane Andrew, FPL hurricane restoration, hardening, undergrounding and drone technology is available here: 2022 Storm Season FPL Digital Press-Kit
Florida Power & Light Company
As America’s largest electric utility, Florida Power & Light Company serves more customers and sells more power than any other utility, providing clean, affordable, reliable electricity to more than 5.7 million accounts, or more than 12 million people. FPL operates one of the cleanest power generation fleets in the U.S and in 2021 won the ReliabilityOne® National Reliability Award for the sixth time in the last seven years. The company received the top ranking in the southern U.S. among large electric providers, according to J.D. Power’s 2021 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM and 2021 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction StudySM. The company was also recognized in 2020 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities by Escalent for the seventh consecutive year. 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, corporate responsibility, ethics and compliance, and diversity. NextEra Energy is ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune’s 2022 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies” and recognized on Fortune’s 2021 list of companies that “Change the World.” NextEra Energy is also the parent company of 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.NextEraEnergyResources.com.