JUNO BEACH, Fla., Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The electric utility industry has honored NextEra Energy, Inc., Executive Chairman Lew Hay with its "Distinguished Leadership Award." The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) award, established to recognize outstanding individual achievement, was presented Jan. 9 during the organization's board of directors meeting. Hay is the fifth utility executive to receive this honor. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110124/FL34682LOGO ) "There is no one more deserving of this award than Lew Hay, whose leadership has set a new bar for excellence in our industry," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "Lew has never wavered in his commitment to NextEra Energy's shareholders, customers and the communities that his company serves." Lew Hay is executive chairman of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), one of the nation's leading electricity-related services companies and the largest renewable energy generator in North America. Previously, he served as chief executive officer of NextEra Energy. "I am humbled to receive the highest individual honor our industry offers," Hay said following the award presentation. "Electric utilities are partners in so many ways, and utility CEOs excel when we learn from one another. Excellence in our industry will always mean a strong commitment to the customers who count on us every day." FPL awardIn addition, the company's affiliated Florida Power & Light Company received EEI's annual "Emergency Assistance Award" for helping restore power to areas of the Northeast devastated by Hurricane Sandy and the Super Derecho storm. The award recognizes utilities for their outstanding response in aiding other electric companies to help restore service to the public following a storm or natural disaster. Selections are based on a company's ability to respond to a crisis quickly, overcome difficult circumstances and utilize innovative service recovery techniques. FPL is one of 15 utilities honored for its assistance work following the two storms.