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FPL urges customers, particularly those throughout Central and North Florida, to be prepared for extensive power outages as Hurricane Matthew takes aim near the Cape Canaveral area
- FPL expects as many as 2.5 million customers could lose power, with some areas experiencing extended outages
- FPL is anticipating a significant and challenging restoration effort along parts of Florida's east coast; FPL may have to rebuild parts of its electric system
- FPL has a workforce of more than 15,000 ready to respond, including FPL employees and workers from other utilities and electrical contracting companies
- FPL urges customers to make safety their top priority and stay far away from downed power lines, flooding and debris; lines could be energized and life-threatening
- Customers should go to FPL.com for critical information and report power outages via FPL.com/outage
JUNO BEACH, Fla., Oct. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today urged customers to finalize their safety preparations and prepare for extended power outages, as Hurricane Matthew is forecast to make landfall near the Cape Canaveral area as a devastating and deadly Category 4 storm.
"Our hardworking men and women at FPL, along with workers from contracting companies and our partner utilities from across the country, are ready to respond to Hurricane Matthew as soon as it's safe to do so," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "Our restoration workforce now totals more than 15,000 strong with approximately 12,000 of these workers in the field to restore our customers' power. As long as it's safe, our crews will be out in force restoring power as the first bands of severe weather hit, and we'll work continuously after the storm clears until all customers have power again."
A significant portion of Florida's east coast will be impacted by this powerful storm, and based upon the current forecast path, intensity and FPL's historical modeling, the company now anticipates as many as 2.5 million customers will experience power outages and damage.
"Depending upon Matthew's ultimate path and intensity, damage to our electrical infrastructure will be extensive," said Silagy. "The impacts of this storm will far exceed the design standards of not just the FPL system, but much of the design standards of homes and buildings throughout the region. Some areas of our service territory may experience extended and repeated outages, while others may require a total rebuild of our energy infrastructure. The most important thing now is to ensure our customers have completed their final storm preparations and are ready to ride out this storm safely."
FPL continues to remind its customers of the need to be cautious before, during and after the storm. Stay away from flooded areas and debris, and stay alert to and away from downed power lines, which could be energized and dangerous. Importantly, treat highway intersections as four-way stops where stop lights are out of service due to a loss of power.
"We thank our customers in advance for their patience with what we know will be a challenging time," Silagy said. Please know that our crews will be out in force, working around the clock until every last customer's lights are back on."
Flooding, fallen structures, debris and other obstacles also can affect the speed of power restoration. Excess vegetation and debris are also anticipated to cause significant restoration challenges. Following severe weather, FPL crews must cut away trees and other vegetation that have fallen into power lines, or that are blocking access, to locate and fix damage safely and as quickly as possible. Workers will operate bucket trucks and restore service in between bands of severe weather, as long as winds are below 35 mph and conditions are safe.
FPL is better prepared to respond to severe weather having invested more than $2 billion since 2006 to build a stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient energy grid that will allow us to restore power much faster than ever before. That said, there will be outages as no utility is hurricane-proof, especially when facing a powerful storm such as Matthew.
As a result of lessons learned from 2012's Superstorm Sandy, FPL has installed real-time flood monitors at 223 substations that are most susceptible to storm surge, including substations in Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier and Lee counties. Substations play a critical role in providing service to customers by reducing high-voltage electricity from transmission lines to a level that can be distributed throughout FPL's service area.
While the monitors clearly cannot prevent flooding, they do provide FPL more advanced warning if a flood threat emerges and allow us to proactively shut down a substation earlier. This potentially mitigates damage to our system and allows us to bring the substation online faster following a storm.
Please stay safe
What we're doing
Immediately after the storm clears, we will send out teams to conduct firsthand damage assessments, so we can estimate when repairs will be finished and power restored in each affected area. Several hours after the storm clears a region of the state, we will communicate estimates of when power will be restored for 50 percent, 75 percent and 90 percent of customers. These estimates will be based in part on historical storm data, and they could be revised as we gather more information about the damage to our system.
How we restore power
How to stay informed
Florida Power & Light Company
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company
For further information: Florida Power & Light Company, Media Line: 561-694-4442, @FPL_Newsroom