FPL Workforce Polishes Hurricane Preparedness & Response Planning
'We Care About Safety -- Yours And Ours -- And Getting Your Power Back With As Little Inconvenience, And As Quickly As Possible.'
May 22, 2001

Hurricane season is here and Florida Power & Light Company has practiced its workforce and fine-tuned its plans for restoring electric service. FPL's focus is on customer and workforce safety and on minimizing the inconvenience to customers.

"When a severe storm or hurricane takes out your electricity service, our entire workforce will be focused on getting it back," said Armando Olivera, FPL senior vice president of power systems. "Our plan calls for putting more people on the phones, more crews in the field and providing frequent status reports to customers."

Steps to take to be safe and protect your family before and after a storm:

* When winds reach 35 mph, or flooding is significant, stay out of harm's way. We care about our employees and we insist they too remain safe, so we suspend work in the field until conditions improve.

* Stay away from downed lines, flooding and debris. Don't walk in standing water and don't venture out in the dark because you might not see a power line that could still be energized and dangerous.

* Learn all you can about getting prepared for a storm and about being prepared to manage safely after a storm when utilities and normal community services may be temporarily interrupted.

* If you plan to use a portable generator, run it outside and connect appliances directly. Do not wire your generator directly to your breaker or fuse box, because the power it creates may flow back into power lines and cause injuries.

How does FPL know who's without power and when to call:

* Right after a storm, we'll know if large power lines have been damaged and you're without power. Please help us keep the phone lines open by only calling FPL if you need to report an emergency like a downed power line or electrical equipment that is sparking and dangerous. The number is 1-800-4OUTAGE.

* If your neighborhood gets power back on a day or two after a storm -- but you're still without power -- then please call us at 1-800-4OUTAGE. Please have your account number or phone number available when you call and an automated system will record your outage information. This system helps us manage the enormous task of restoring power after a hurricane -- beginning with emergencies and essential community services.

* Stay tuned to local radio, TV and newspapers for specific reports on FPL's progress in assessing and repairing damage to the electrical system in your area.

* Severe hurricanes have been known to cause damage that results in many weeks without power. Less severe storms can result in several days or a week or more without power.

* Once we've assessed damage, we will provide an estimate of when repairs will be finished and power restored in your area. If you have access to a computer, visit us at http://www.fpl.com/ or call 1-800-4OUTAGE for an update.

Customers are our number one priority after a storm. We use a well-tested plan to restore service. Here's how we work:

* First we assess the overall system and repair FPL power plants and the major lines that carry power from plants to towns and communities.

* Next, we restore service to essential customers who provide for community health, safety and public welfare -- such as hospitals, police, fire, communications and water, sanitary and transportation providers.

* We simultaneously deploy field teams to conduct neighborhood-by- neighborhood damage assessments. We do this so the right resources, crews and materials are assigned to each effort. We also set up special staging sites to begin work in the areas that were hit the hardest.

* After essential customers, we restore all other customers using a priority restoration process. The process focuses on making repairs to electrical facilities that will return power to the largest number of people first, then the next largest number, and so on, until power is returned to everyone.

* Work is not assigned according to when you called to report your outage, where you live or the status of your account. Work will begin in multiple locations wherever we have damage and customers out of service, and it will progress according to a plan that prioritizes groups over individuals.

* We know you want accurate information that will help you make decisions about whether to relocate or stay put. Post-storm assessments take time after a severe storm, but as soon as we've reviewed the extent of damage to electrical facilities in your area, we will try to provide power restoration forecasts through the news media, on FPL's Web site (http://www.fpl.com/) and at 1-800-4OUTAGE.

As a customer, what can I do after a storm?

* Before you call to report an outage, check all circuit breakers or fuses to help determine if your service outage might be the result of a household problem.

* If you have significant water damage in your home that might make it unsafe, call a licensed electrician for advice.

* Visually inspect the area outside your home near the meter. If the meter or any of the piping and wires on the wall of your home or office are gone or look damaged, call an electrician for advice.

* If no problems are readily apparent, FPL will connect your service or assist in determining whether you have a household problem.

* Visit http://www.fpl.com/ for pre- and post-storm customer tips, a Hurricane Q&A and -- when events occur -- news of storm restoration and maps.

FPL'S Hurricane Q&As

All our electric service restoration efforts focus on customer and community health, safety and public welfare.

Q. What are FPL's priorities for service restoration?

A. First, FPL will work around the clock until service is restored, though daylight hours are needed for most activities. Safety of personnel, and the public will remain our highest priority. The priorities are:

* Assessing the overall system and repairing power plants, major lines and substations that carry power from plants to communities.

* Restoring power to key services essential to community safety, health and welfare -- such as hospitals, police, fire, communications and water, sanitary and transportation providers.

* Making repairs to electrical facilities that will return service to the largest number of customers in the shortest period of time, then the next largest number and so on until power is returned to everyone.

Q. Do politicians and other important individuals get special attention?

A. No. FPL does not give preferential treatment. It is contrary to the hurricane restoration plan and company policy to single out any individual for priority electric service restoration. Work is not assigned according to when customers report their outage, where they live or the status of their account.

Q. Does FPL know I've lost electric service after a storm? Should I call to report my outage?

A. Right after a storm, we'll know if large power lines have been damaged and you're without power. So rather than calling us right away, please help us keep the phone lines open. If you need to report an emergency like a downed power line or electrical equipment that is sparking and dangerous, please call immediately. The number is 1-800-4OUTAGE.

Q. How does FPL determine who has lost service and what repairs are needed?

A. We make an initial damage assessment of our system by observation, often from helicopters, once weather permits. These initial observations help us understand the repairs that we may need to make to key facilities like power plants, substations and main power lines before we can begin the restoration process for customers. After the initial assessment -- and once it's safe for our employees to begin work -- we dispatch patrol teams to conduct neighborhood-by-neighborhood assessments. These teams report electrical equipment damage and what repairs may be needed.

Q. When should I call?

A. Once your neighborhood gets electric service restored, if you're still without power -- then please call us at 1-800-4OUTAGE. Have your account number or phone number available when you call to report your outage and an automated system will record your information and ensure a report is generated to get it fixed.

  Q. What can customers do to help get their power back?
  A. Before calling to report an outage:

* Check all circuit breakers or fuses to help determine if your service outage might be the result of a household problem.

* Call a licensed electrician if you have significant water damage in your home that might make it unsafe.

* Inspect the area outside your home near the meter. If the meter or any of the piping and wires on the wall of your home or office are gone or look damaged, call an electrician. You may need to make repairs to home wiring before FPL can reconnect your power. If no problems are readily apparent, FPL will connect your service or assist in determining if you have a household problem.

Q. How does FPL provide for people with special medical problems, such as those on life sustaining medical equipment?

A. Any customer who has continuously operating, electric-powered medical equipment at home that is necessary to sustain life or avoid serious medical complications may participate in FPL's medical essential service program. For more information visit http://www.fpl.com/html/home_health.html or call FPL to request an application and a physician's certification form.

Q. When will FPL be working before and after the storm?

A. FPL does not attempt to restore service when winds are at or above 35 mph. Working in those conditions would endanger the safety of our employees. As soon as the storm has passed and winds have died down, assessments will be made and crews deployed.

Q. Does FPL shut down its power plants when a hurricane approaches?

A. All of FPL's power plants are designed to weather the high winds and water from a hurricane. Plants would be operated based on employee safety, customer energy needs and availability of other facilities to produce or transmit power. As a precautionary measure, our two nuclear plants will be shut down two hours prior to the anticipated onset of hurricane force winds. The units would remain shut down until the hurricane has passed, then inspected and returned to service.

Q. Will a hurricane have any effect on FPL's nuclear power plant sites?

A. A severe storm or hurricane at either of our nuclear power plant sites should pose no danger to the public. FPL operates four nuclear reactors at two sites. St. Lucie is located on Hutchinson Island near Fort Pierce, Florida. Turkey Point is located in Florida City, south of Miami. Both plants are designed and constructed to withstand the effects of a "worst-case" hurricane or tornado. All safety-related structures, such as the reactor buildings and emergency power supplies, are designed to withstand the effects of a direct storm strike.

Q. How can I tell the difference between telephone, television cable and electrical lines? How can I tell if standing water is electrified? How can I tell if a fallen line still has electricity in it?

A. Consider all cables and wires as being energized regardless of whether they are electrical, cable television or telephone. If a line is in the water, there is even more reason to be cautious and consider it and the water energized. Please keep children away from all flooded areas and areas with lots of debris as the water or storm debris could be hiding an energized line.

Q. Is it safe for me to walk in my neighborhood right after the storm passes, just to get out of the house, or to determine how bad the neighborhood got hit by the storm?

A. Stay away from downed lines, flooding and debris. Don't walk in standing water and don't venture out in the dark, because you won't be able to see a power line that could still be energized and dangerous.

Q. How should I hook up my portable electrical generator?

A. Appliances should be plugged directly into a portable generator, using extension cords if necessary. For your safety, run portable generators outside the house so the generator gets proper ventilation. Check the manufacturer's recommendations and follow them for proper use and load. If you have any doubts, consult a licensed electrician. Only a licensed electrician should attempt to hook up a generator to the main electric panel of a home or business. If you improperly connect to a main panel, power can "back feed" from the generator, including RV generators, into utility lines and injure a neighbor, property or utility crews working to restore service.

Q. How many appliances can I connect and run from my portable generator?

A. Consult the manufacturer's instructions. Each generator has a rated wattage, which provides a limit for how many appliances it will safely power. Add together the wattage of different appliances, and do not exceed the manufacturer's total rated wattage for the generator.

Q. How will fallen trees near power lines be handled?

A. One of our top priorities will be to remove trees and debris that have damaged electrical equipment and are preventing service restoration. Customers should not attempt to remove or trim foliage within 10 feet of a power line. If a tree or tree limbs have fallen on a power line or pulled it down, do not attempt to get close to the line. If the line is sparking, call FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE and report it as an emergency. Safety should always be your first priority when pruning. Look up. Be especially careful when working with a ladder, scaffold, pole or tree in your yard. Do not do any trimming near a power line.

Q. What precautions should I take if I'm returning to a home or business that has been flooded?

A. If you have any doubts about the integrity of your home or office electrical system as a result of flooding, check with local officials or a licensed electrician.

* Do not stand in water when operating switches, plugging in or unplugging appliances or resetting breakers or replacing fuses.

* Do not attempt to reset breakers or replace fuses until all water has receded. Use caution. Some circuits above the flood level may still be energized.

* Disconnect all electrical appliances before attempting to reset breakers or replace fuses. Be sure to wear dry shoes with rubber soles and stand on something dry and non-conductive, such as a dry piece of wood or wooden furniture.

* Use a dry and non-conductive "tool" such as a wooden stick or piece of PVC pipe in one hand when resetting breakers. Place the other hand behind your back. Do not make contact with the metal breaker box and other grounded objects in the area.

* Call a licensed electrician if breakers will not reset and continue to trip. This condition might indicate a short circuit in your electrical system.

* Check for water damage in all appliances and make sure cords and other parts are dry before re-plugging them into wall sockets.

* Disconnect an appliance immediately if a breaker trips, a fuse blows, or you see smoke or smell a burning odor. Have it checked by a qualified appliance serviceman.

Q. Why would FPL crews pass my house without repairing anything?

A. If you see an FPL crew passing but not stopping, it may be because work at a nearby location must be performed before electric service can be restored to you and your neighbors.

Q. Why am I the only house on the block without power?

A. Fuses or circuit breakers in your home could have tripped and halted power, tree limbs could have fallen on the line serving your home, fuses on the transformer that serves your home may have tripped or could be damaged, and the primary line feeding the transformer could be damaged.

Q. Can I pay an electrician to change my FPL service wires or cables?

A. No. Electricians are not allowed to work on FPL lines from the pole or transformer to your house. Your electrician handles work that needs to be done from the meter to inside the house, including your circuit breakers and home wiring.

Q. Why do I only have electricity in one part of my house?

A. You could have a tripped circuit breaker, a blown fuse or a broken connector or wire at one of the service leads to your house. Sometimes damage to these leads leaves only the 120-volt outlets (or some of them) working. In this case, larger appliances that need 240-volt service, such as water heaters, air conditioning and ovens, may be inoperable until repairs are made. It is safe to use the outlets you have available, while you check with an electrician. If it's a problem with a service lead to your home, FPL crews will repair the wires when they arrive to restore service.

Q. If my lights come on, can I expect them to stay on?

A. Once service is restored, we make every effort to keep it on; however, as we repair other parts of our system, some interruptions may occur.

Q. What about my bill if I have to relocate? Will I be charged a late fee?

A. We recognize that some areas may be damaged so much that normal household routines, including bill paying, could be disrupted for a period of time. If you have incurred significant damage to your home or business that forces you to relocate, please contact FPL regarding your account and address, and we will work with you to resolve billing and late fee issues.

Q. The electrical service line from the pole to my house appears to be pulled away from the house. What should I do?

A. FPL personnel will be inspecting service lines and will determine if an electrician is required to fix the damage or if FPL can make repairs. Piping that houses wires attached to the side of your home or business is considered part of the house wiring and can only be worked on by a licensed electrician.

Q. Why are my electric motors or machines running backward?

A. Turn off the machinery immediately and call FPL. A technician will determine whether electric power phases were connected properly.

Q. Would FPL pay for food that spoils?

A. FPL cannot guarantee continuity of service, so there is not a requirement that we pay for food that might spoil due to electric service interruptions.

Q. Would FPL pay for damage to appliances, electronic equipment or other personal property damaged in a power loss or during power restoration?

A. FPL cannot guarantee continuity of service, so there is not a requirement that we pay for damage. Following a storm, it's possible that service restored in one spot could be temporarily impacted by work elsewhere, including an accident or emergency condition that requires us to temporarily turn power off at the request of police or fire. We encourage customers to consider precautions, such as unplugging, turning off or limiting use of electronically sensitive and/or non-essential appliances.

Q. What are the vulnerabilities of underground and overhead electric service?

A. Overhead lines are exposed to high winds and flying debris. Underground facilities can be subject to flooding. Repair and replacement time is about the same for equipment with similar functions. Repairs may take longer if an underground fault needs to be located and repaired.

Q. How will FPL restore streetlights and traffic signals?

A. Traffic signals will be prioritized at the request of the city or county that owns or maintains them. City or county workers may need to repair or replace damaged traffic signals and streetlights they own before FPL can re-energize lines that power them.

Q. Are there some general expectations regarding how long restoration might take following a hurricane? What kind of situations could prolong the effort?

A. Restoration will depend in part on how many cities and counties are significantly impacted. FPL's service territory covers 34 counties. In the case of Florida's Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and North Carolina's Hurricane Hugo in 1989, some customers were without electric service for up to five weeks. In 1995, Hurricane Erin's damage to parts of FPL's system left some customers without power for up to five days. Restoring power took four days following Hurricane Irene in 1999.

Q. What plans does FPL have to bring in outside crews?

A. Virtually every FPL employee is mobilized to assist in storm restoration in some way. Additionally, we call on other utilities and contractors, such as tree trimming crews, to assist. FPL has mutual assistance agreements with utilities in Florida and neighboring states. If damage from a storm exceeds our capability to restore service in a reasonable time, we will request crews from other utilities.

Q. How will you provide service to areas that may be unaffected by widespread outages or hurricane damage?

A. In areas not affected by the storm, only a minimum number of crews will be left to handle emergency calls. We especially ask the patience of customers in unaffected areas while we work to restore service elsewhere.

Q. At what point is FPL likely to have specific data about remaining outages by street address and/or neighborhood?

A. Following a major storm it could take us three to five days or more to fully assess the situation and reach a point where restoration estimates could be made for localized neighborhoods and individuals.

Q. How will FPL employees help in the hurricane restoration?

A. FPL trains qualified office workers to provide support to our regular power line crews. FPL people from around the state are trained to patrol and make field assessments, as well as to handle numerous field support roles needed to staff storm restoration activities at service centers and crew staging sites. Extra personnel are brought in to staff phones around the clock on 12-hour shifts in FPL's two regional phone centers. Our focus in the field and throughout the company is on safe, speedy assessment and restoration.

Q. How does FPL manage increased calls during an emergency?

A. Our call centers use an automated outage reporting system, which takes customer calls and generates reports for prioritization according to our restoration plan. In an emergency, extra lines and additional people are assigned to the customer care phone centers to help facilitate the increased call volume. These individuals handle primarily emergency calls immediately after a storm and continue to work 12-hour shifts until service is restored to all customers.


EDITOR'S ADVISORY: Not for publication, for media use only. For
additional information on FPL storm preparedness, you may wish to contact a
local FPL media liaison, as follows:
Daytona-N. Florida Bob Coleman 904-254-2350
Brevard-Orlando Sandy Sanderson 321-726-4955
Treasure Coast Rachel Scott 561-781-3118
Palm Beach Rod Macon 561-640-2201
Broward Lynn Shatas 954-321-2215
Sarasota-Bradenton Mel Klein 941-708-2901
Fort Myers-Naples Grover Whidden 941-332-9291
Miami-Dade, Broward &
West Palm Beach Corporate Communications 305-552-3888
Miami-Dade Betty Marsenison 305-552-3888
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SOURCE: Florida Power & Light Company

Contact: Florida Power & Light Company Corporate Communications Media
Line, 305-552-3888