JUNO BEACH, Fla., Oct. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today announced that given the current projected path of Hurricane Matthew, the company is preparing for the potential of severe weather and related power outages, and is urging its customers to do the same.
"FPL has activated its emergency response plan in anticipation of severe weather, particularly given the strength of the approaching storm, and with it, tropical-force wind gusts that could reach as far as 185 miles from its center," said Eric Silagy, president and chief executive officer of FPL. "This is an extremely powerful and dangerous storm and we fully anticipate excess debris, such as trees, branches and palm fronds, to cause power outages along the eastern portion of our service area. As a result, approximately 4,000 workers are prepared for rapid restoration, including FPL employees and Florida-based contractors, and we urge our customers to take the time now to make their preparations."
While much uncertainty remains regarding the exact path of the storm, the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center indicates that there is a significant chance that the East Coast of Florida could experience winds of 25-40 mph, with gusts up to 55 mph, due to the strength and reach of Hurricane Matthew. As a result, much of the East Coast of Florida is anticipated to experience heavy rain and gusty wind beginning as early as Wednesday evening.
"We have been extremely aggressive with our investments, including vegetation management, having invested $2 billion during the past decade," said Silagy. "And, while each storm is different, our investments in our electric grid are yielding significant benefits as evidenced by the fact that we were able to quickly restore power to our customers affected by Hurricane Hermine in September."
We've invested in a stronger, smarter energy grid
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. Enhancements to the energy grid include:
Our system improvements mean fewer power outages, faster service restoration following storms and more reliable service for our customers every day. In the last five years, FPL has improved daily service reliability by 25 percent.
A key focus of our work is to make the electric system stronger by upgrading the main power lines serving critical local facilities and other community needs. This prepares our system to better withstand severe weather and enables us to restore our customers' service faster following major storms.
As a lesson 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 give us 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.
FPL urges customers to review their family and business emergency plans, keep a close watch on the development of the storm and follow the advice of local government. Preparation and safety tips are available at FPL.com.
How we prepare for storm season
Please stay safe
Safety is always FPL's first priority. We urge customers to make it their top priority, too:
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving more than 4.8 million customer accounts or more than 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida. FPL's typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 30 percent lower than the latest national average and, in 2015, was the lowest in Florida among reporting utilities for the sixth year in a row. FPL's service reliability is better than 99.98 percent, and its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among all utilities nationwide. The company received the top ranking in the southern U.S. among large electric providers, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM, and was recognized in 2016 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities by Market Strategies International. A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,800 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, and has been ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune's 2016 list of "World's Most Admired Companies." NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.FPL.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company