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FPL Reaches 100,000-mile Milestone Of Cleared Trees And Palm Fronds From Power Lines With Goal Of Improved Service Reliability

JUNO BEACH, Fla., Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company today announced that it has cleared trees and palm fronds from 100,000 miles of power lines throughout its 35-county service territory in Florida since 2006. This major accomplishment, which is the equivalent to a distance four times the earth's circumference, is part of the company's comprehensive program it initiated after seven storms hit FPL's service area in 2004-2005, to make the electric system more resilient against severe weather and improve everyday reliability. In June, FPL announced another major milestone related to this program as the company inspected its one-millionth distribution pole as part of its commitment to inspect 1.1 million poles every eight years.

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"We understand how important reliable electricity is to our customers," said FPL Vice President of Power Delivery Manny Miranda. "Tree limbs and palm fronds growing near power lines are a leading cause of both power outages and flickering of lights. As a result, clearing vegetation from our 36,000 miles of overhead power lines, and in some instances, tree removal, are essential elements of our plan to deliver reliable electric service to our customers."

Clearing Vegetation

FPL clears vegetation from about 15,000 miles of overhead distribution power lines every year, or approximately 60 miles of lines every business day – that is equivalent to the distance from Miami to West Palm Beach. That includes the lines serving key facilities such as hospitals, police and fire stations. Additionally, FPL clears vegetation from its main power lines every three years and neighborhood lines every six years, on average. The majority of the scheduled line- clearing work is completed before September, which is the height of storm season, to help minimize the amount of debris that can fly into poles and wires during windy weather.

"While we deliver more than 99.98 percent service reliability to our customers, we are never satisfied," said Miranda. "That's why we're using geographic information system technology, or GIS, to further analyze factors such as environmental conditions, tree density and growth rates to help identify and address vegetation related power outages before they occur, in addition to our planned tree-trimming schedule."

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