Florida Power & Light Co. delivered its best reliability performance on record in 2012 and is working to make its electric system even stronger. In its annual filing with the Florida Public Service Commission, FPL said it is investing more than $200 million in 2013 to better prepare its infrastructure to withstand severe storms and further improve everyday reliability.
In 2012, the company achieved its best-ever overall reliability performance, as measured by the average time a customer is without power – considered the industry’s best overall reliability indicator.
The average time a typical customer was without service was reduced by 20 percent compared to 2011. The report also outlines FPL plans for continued improvements in 2013.
FPL continues to maintain strong utility poles to hold the power lines and equipment needed to deliver electricity. In 2013, FPL will inspect more than 130,000 distribution poles, completing its initial inspection of more than one million poles in the company’s system. Poles that no longer meet FPL’s strength standards are reinforced or replaced.
This year, the company also continues to inspect the structures holding its high-power transmission lines. Overall, in 2012, FPL replaced more than 9,500 poles with stronger ones, helping improve their ability to withstand Florida’s severe storms.
FPL’s program includes making local “critical infrastructure facilities” – including hospitals, fire and rescue stations and 911 communication centers – stronger against severe weather. In 2013, FPL is accelerating its program to improve the lines and equipment serving these facilities, which are identified with the help of local community leaders.
The company also continues to upgrade other neighborhood facilities, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and major highway crossings, to help communities recover faster following major storms.
Trees and other vegetation growing near power lines can cause service interruptions. In 2013, FPL is continuing its program to deliver power more reliably by clearing tree limbs, branches and other vegetation from all main distribution lines every three years and neighborhood power lines every six years. In all, the company expects to trim vegetation from more than 15,000 miles of power lines this year. In 2012, FPL cleared about 15,000 miles of lines across Florida – a distance equal to traveling round trip from Miami to Los Angeles nearly three times.
FPL’s ongoing investments are part of the company’s long-term commitment to make the electric system stronger against severe storms and increase everyday reliability for customers. Since the infrastructure improvement program began in 2006, this massive effort has achieved a number of key milestones:
· Cleared trees and vegetation from more than 90,000 miles of power lines – a distance nearly four times the earth’s circumference;
· Inspected 940,000 utility poles (distribution) – when laid end to end, a line stretching from Florida to Brazil and back;
· Strengthened 361 main power lines serving local critical infrastructure facilities, such as hospitals and fire and rescue stations, and other community needs, including pharmacies and grocery stores.
Florida Power & Light Co. serves about 4.6 million customer accounts. FPL is a unit of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE).