JUNO BEACH, Fla., Dec. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today announced that a 10-person team of restoration experts traveled to Puerto Rico this past weekend to support ongoing restoration efforts across the Commonwealth. FPL's team joined a contingent of seven Incident Management Teams (IMTs), each comprised of professionals representing electric companies from across the U.S. The teams were deployed in response to a formal request for mutual assistance by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and supported by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló.
"We're pleased that the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and PREPA have accepted this additional help to return normalcy to our fellow American citizens of Puerto Rico who have been without electricity for so long," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "We recognize just how difficult it is to be without power after a major hurricane. That's why even before we had completed restoring power to our more than 4.4 affected million customers in the wake of Hurricane Irma, we quickly identified a team of restoration professionals who were prepared to deploy to Puerto Rico to offer whatever help we could provide. With so many of our own customers and employees having strong ties to Puerto Rico, we feel it is our responsibility to help get the lights back on for the hundreds of thousands who are still in the dark. We're eager to have these teams in the field and look forward to making a difference."
Nearly all of the island's 3.5 million residents lost power due to Hurricane Maria in late September, with the majority remaining without electricity throughout the island. The teams have been assigned to seven regions across the island in coordination with PREPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and electric company contractors who already are restoring power. FPL's team will support power restoration in the region of Bayamon, just west of San Juan.
FPL's support of power restoration in Puerto Rico began immediately after the energy company completed its own restoration in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Additionally, in the days immediately following Hurricane Maria, NextEra Energy, FPL's parent company, donated $100,000 dollars and matched the same amount from employee donations to help those affected by the storm. Many employees also held fundraisers and supply drives to assist those impacted across the island.
Operationally, FPL coordinated the delivery of thousands of poles and other equipment to Puerto Rico and accompanied Florida Governor Rick Scott to the Commonwealth in November. Since that time, FPL leadership has remained in Puerto Rico where it has been providing technical expertise and guidance to support the restoration effort. Gov. Scott has made the support of Puerto Rico's citizens a top priority in the wake of Hurricane Maria, communicating regularly with Governor Rosselló, traveling to the island to offer the state's assistance, and regularly meeting with and being briefed by FPL.
"Aside from the fact that so many of our customers have family and other connections to Puerto Rico, so too is the case with the FPL family," said Manny Miranda, senior vice president of Power Delivery for FPL. "The FPL team, alongside other industry colleagues, is ready to get about the work of helping to get the lights back on across the island. We have assembled a group that represents some of the most experienced power restoration professionals in our industry. Just as we did during Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, we will lend our knowledge and expertise to help get the lights back on safely and as quickly as possible."
FPL team members will remain on the island to support the restoration as long as their assistance is needed. It is anticipated that additional FPL field crews and equipment, upon request, will travel to Puerto Rico in the weeks ahead to assist with the ongoing restoration effort.
Mutual assistance throughout the energy industry plays a critical role in the restoration of power following severe weather events, such as hurricanes, ice storms and tornadoes. In September, crews from 30 states and Canada came to Florida to support the unprecedented restoration of more than 4.4 million FPL customers following Hurricane Irma. In fact, those workers, coupled with FPL's more than $3 billion worth of investments over the past decade to build a stronger and smarter energy grid, helped shave days off the restoration.
In turn, FPL crews have traveled across the nation to help restore power following major weather events many times in the past, including the deployment of approximately 1,000 FPL personnel to the Northeast in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. And just recently, more than 300 men and women deployed to Maine and Connecticut to assist with restoration activity following an October Nor'easter.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving nearly 5 million customer accounts or an estimated 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida. FPL's typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 25 percent lower than the latest national average and, in 2016, was the lowest in Florida among reporting utilities for the seventh 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 2017 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities by Market Strategies International. A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,900 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-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 2017 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