JUNO BEACH, Fla. – 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.
“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."
In 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.
“FPL’s restoration assistance following these storms was truly remarkable,” said Kuhn. “Getting the lights back on quickly and safely following a major storm is never easy. Working through the industry’s mutual assistance program, FPL’s crews were essential in helping their fellow utility workers restore service in affected neighborhoods. Importantly, FPL’s assistance also shows the compassion of the company and its workforce in helping others in their time of need.”
FPL started planning its assistance to the Northeast while finishing its own restoration work after Tropical Storm Sandy passed near the Florida coast. After reaching hurricane strength – the largest Atlantic hurricane in history – the storm made landfall in New Jersey in late October. According to EEI, the hurricane at its peak caused power outages for nearly 10 million customers in the Northeast. FPL employees and contractors worked 16-hour days in frigid temperatures, snow and flood conditions over a two-week period and assisted 11 utilities from Virginia to New Jersey. FPL sent a workforce nearly 1,000 strong, the largest mutual assistance contingent in the company’s history, and restored power to approximately 50,000 customers in New Jersey alone. In the New York area, more than 200 of these workers helped restore customers of Con Edison and other utilities, and provided expertise on staging sites, operations and logistics. In addition, FPL and its affiliated NextEra Energy Foundation donated more than $200,000 – including $51,000 raised from FPL employees – to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
The Mid-Atlantic states were slammed by an intense line of thunderstorms in late June. Named “Super Derecho” for this special type of violent, lengthy windstorm, it produced wind gusts of up to 91 mph, causing widespread destruction, 20 fatalities and massive power outages affecting four million customers in major urban areas. FPL deployed 233 workers, who traveled more than 1,000 miles in fewer than 48 hours, to help four utilities restore electric service. FPL crews worked primarily in the Washington - Baltimore, area, which was heavily damaged by the storm.
“Giving mutual assistance to other utilities is a hallmark of the electric industry, and FPL is proud of the help our workforce provided our fellow Americans in recovering from these historic storms,” said FPL President Eric Silagy. “Floridians have benefited from the resources provided by utilities outside our area following major storms. We’re pleased to have had the opportunity to help restore vital electric service to residents of the Northeast.”
Mutual assistance helps utilities in storm-affected areas speed service restoration by making available additional resources – such as line workers, support personnel and equipment – from utilities in areas largely unaffected by a storm. The utilities requesting assistance absorb the cost of the workers FPL sends.
NextEra Energy, Inc.
NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE) is a leading clean energy company with revenues of more than $15.3 billion, more than 41,000 megawatts of generating capacity, and approximately 15,000 employees in 24 states and Canada as of year-end 2011. Headquartered in Juno Beach, Fla., NextEra Energy’s principal subsidiaries are Florida Power & Light Company, which serves approximately 4.6 million customer accounts in Florida and is one of the largest rate-regulated electric utilities in the country, and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which together with its affiliated entities is the largest generator in the United States of renewable energy from the wind and sun. Through its subsidiaries, NextEra Energy generates clean, emissions-free electricity from eight commercial nuclear power units in Florida, New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.FPL.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.