Florida Power & Light Co. announced that its ongoing efforts to improve service reliability continued to pay dividends for its customers in 2015, based on performance data filed with the Florida Public Service Commission.
"We're building a stronger and smarter electric grid to provide our customers with reliable service year-round, all the while keeping our typical residential bills the lowest in Florida and 30 percent below the national average," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "Our continued investments in strengthening the electric grid and utilizing advanced smart grid technology help us deliver electricity our customers can count on in good weather and bad. This has been very evident during our most recent spell of severe El Niño-related weather, including tornadic activity, which for the past several weeks has been impacting our service territory."
Since 2006, FPL has invested more than $2 billion to strengthen its electric system, including hardening nearly 550 main power lines serving critical community facilities, such as police and fire stations, hospitals and 911 centers. By year-end 2016, the company expects to have strengthened every main power line serving critical community facilities in the 35 counties it serves.
Incorporating lessons learned from severe flooding in the Northeast following 2012's Superstorm Sandy, the company has addressed the potential threat of water intrusion by adding flood monitoring systems in 223 coastal substations in Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier and Lee counties. FPL also has installed monitors in several electrical vaults in flood-prone areas of downtown Miami.
In January 2016, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz toured FPL facilities in South Florida, including a flood mitigation system at a substation, as well as its advanced system control center, which is one of the most modern in the world.
During the visit, Secretary Moniz commended FPL for its efforts to make its infrastructure stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient.
"FPL is really on the cutting edge of addressing a grid for the 21st century, particularly in the area of resilience," Moniz told reporters during his FPL visit. "It's really what we need."
Strengthened power lines help make the grid more storm-resilient and speed restoration efforts following a storm. FPL's investments to strengthen its overhead power lines also have resulted in enhanced daily reliability, with hardened lines performing about 40 percent better than lines that have not been hardened.
In addition to the continued strengthening of its electric system, FPL's deployment of smart grid technology helps keep the lights on for customers year-round. FPL has installed more than 4.8 million smart meters on homes and businesses, and more than 36,000 advanced smart grid devices on its poles and wires. This technology enables FPL to continually monitor and assess the health of its system, predict, and in some cases prevent outages for customers, and restore power faster when outages occur.
"We have worked hard to improve service for our customers and we're seeing results – improving reliability by about 25 percent over the past five years," said Silagy. "We've also achieved significant reductions in flickers – those brief power interruptions that can be a source of frustration for customers. We know that reliability is extremely important to our customers and our state's economy, and we're committed to continue improving the service we provide."
FPL was named the winner of the 2015 ReliabilityOne National Reliability Excellence Award by PA Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm that analyzes electric utility performance across the United States, recognizing the most reliable utilities in the nation.