Florida Power & Light wins electric reliability award

FPL storm hardening elp

For the second year in a row, Florida Power & Light captured PA Consulting’s ReliabilityOne Award for the highest graded level of excellence among the nation’s utilities.

FPL was honored at the 16th annual ReliabilityOne Awards ceremony held Wednesday evening in San Diego. The utility also won last year’s top prize during an event in Miami.

“FPL has dramatically raised the bar for customer reliability from overhead and non-networked underground distribution systems,” the award announcement reads. “Their approach combines both a commitment to the fundamentals, such as their $2 billion storm hardening investment—and the drive to push the envelope through technology, including automated outage identification, impending outage alerts, sophisticated network protection and control algorithms designed to minimize the customer impact of outages.”

Other utilities honored Wednesday as Regional ReliabilityOne Awards recipients include:

Northeast—Consolidated Edison Co. of New York; Mid-Atlantic—Public Service Electric & Gas; South—FPL; West—San Diego Gas & Electric; Midwest—We Energies; and Plains—Xcel Energy.

Midsize utilities honored for outstanding reliability performance were Indianapolis Power & Light; Public Service Co. of New Mexico and the United Illuminating Co.

We Energies was further honored for outstanding customer reliability experience, while FPL and ConEdison of New York were lauded for outstanding technology & innovation and system-wide reliability, respectively.

PA Consulting acknowledged that utilities are facing tough times driven by technological upheaval, customer demand and regulatory intervention. Top performing utilities deal with these challenges and find opportunities to improve while keeping grid reliability at the forefront, the consulting firm pointed out.

"The customer reliability experience is key to moving utilities forward, (and) it must be at the center of all that we do, from planning and prevention to restoration and communications," said Derek HasBrouck, PA Consulting Group's ReliabilityOne Program Director, in a statement. "The leading utilities are moving away from dependency on the customer to report failure to an era in which we can now see and act on signatures of impending future customer failures—a paradigm shift is happening now that will lead us to what the next generation utility will look like going forward.”

PA Consulting’s certification and analysis of utilities in the ReliabilityOne program also found that companies are betting better at major storm preparedness. Forecasting and mobilization are improving, while communication issues such as estimated time of restoration are playing bigger roles.

The analysis found that, regionally speaking, the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Mountain areas had stronger reliability performance. Performance dropped in the Plains, West and South due to increases in outage frequency and duration.

Florida, however, was the exception to that rule with the best performance in the south, according to PA Consulting.

The Mid-Atlantic region showed the greatest performance lift with the average system average interruption duration index (SAIDI) falling 21 percent. New Jersey helped that score with one of the best reliability performances in the nation, according to the release.

PA Consulting has more than 2,600 employees and has offices through the Americas, Europe, Nordics, Gulf and Asia Pacific. They offer expertise in energy and utilities, manufacturing, defense and security, financial services, healthcare and other sectors.

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