Florida Power & Light Company says its investment in grid improvements allowed it set records in reliable power delivery last year.
The utility company, which serves 5 million customers, details its best-ever reliability score in a report sent to the Public Service Commission on Monday.
“Our customers are experiencing fewer momentary interruptions, or flickers, and fewer outages than ever before because we continue to build a stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient grid,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.
“And, we will continue to use emerging technology to find new, innovative ways to deliver cleaner and more reliable energy to more than 10 million Floridians while keeping bills approximately 30% below the national average.”
FPL’s grid improvement efforts range from undergrounding power lines to trimming back trees and other vegetation. The company said half of its main distribution power lines are now underground, and 96% of its above-ground lines are anchored to concrete or steel power poles, rather than wood.
In all, the utility provider has poured $5 billion into infrastructure improvements since 2006. FPL said the its investments led to PA Consulting awarding it its fourth ReliabilityOne™ National Reliability Awardin the past five years.
Additionally, FPL’s use of smart devices and other innovative technology to help prevent outages and shorten restoration times when outages occur earned the company the ReliabilityOne™ Award for Outstanding Technology & Innovation and the Outstanding Reliability Performance Award for the Southeast region.
“We’re going to keep doing what we are doing to harden our system and deliver the reliable power our customers expect, because it’s working,” said FPL Senior Vice President of Power Delivery Manny Miranda.
“We’re seeing that hardened power lines perform 40% better in day-to-day operations, which means fewer outages are experienced by customers. And in severe weather like Hurricane Irma in 2017, every hardened transmission structure — the backbone of the energy grid — withstood the significant impacts of the hurricane.”
FPL said its goals include hardening the rest of its main power lines and upgrading its transmission line structures, which carry high-voltage power from power plants to substations, by replacing all wood structures with concrete or steel.
FPL will also continue its Storm Secure Underground Program pilot, which converts overhead power lines to underground lines in select neighborhoods. The three-year pilot, launched in 2018 following Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, focuses on areas with a history of vegetation-related outages and other reliability issues. To date, 35 neighborhood power lines have been converted from overhead to underground.
In 2020, FPL will continue to focus on the use of smart grid technology by replacing standard fuses in transformers with automated, resettable ones, which helps reduce unnecessary maintenance because crews no longer have to go out for a simple fix from a temporary fault.
“We know our customers depend on electricity more and more in today’s high-tech world. That’s why we continually improve our system in ways that will benefit customers, and why we work hard to serve them every day,” said Miranda.