RIVIERA BEACH, Fla., May 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its annual companywide hurricane season preparedness drill, Florida Power & Light Company today announced a three-year plan to continue and accelerate the strengthening of its electric system against high winds associated with hurricanes and other major weather events.
FPL expects to invest approximately half a billion dollars over the next three years to continue to improve the overall resiliency of the electric system for customers. The plan builds on the company's industry-leading storm hardening initiative by incorporating additional lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy, such as those related to flooding, as well as from Florida storm activity in 2012. These recent experiences show that electric infrastructure that has been strengthened performs better in preventing some storm-related outages, speeding restoration times following severe weather and delivering better overall everyday reliability.
"If Florida were a country, its economy would be the 21st largest in the world, and business operations and residents' lives are increasingly reliant on computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices that depend on electricity," said FPL President Eric Silagy. "When severe weather strikes, it causes damage and produces power outages, so preparation is crucial. While no electric system can be fully stormproof, and we have been working to strengthen the grid and improve its resiliency for some time, the acceleration of this effort will help us get businesses up and running and residents' lives back to normal more quickly after storms."The accelerated hardening effort being announced today builds upon the approved program FPL has been executing since 2007. From 2007 through 2012, FPL invested a total of nearly $460 million to strengthen the electricity-delivery backbone and harden infrastructure serving facilities that are critical to communities such as hospitals, police and fire stations, 911 facilities, water-treatment plants, grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies. These investments translate both into faster restoration during major storms and improved everyday reliability for customers. FPL's experience with the recent tropical storms shows main power lines that have been hardened are roughly half as likely to experience an outage during severe weather. In addition, under normal weather conditions, hardening a power line reduces the frequency of daily outages by up to 40 percent.