JUNO BEACH, Fla., Aug. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Specially trained Florida Power & Light Company lineworkers today demonstrated how they maintain and repair energized transmission lines that are more than 50 feet in the air and can carry up to 500,000 volts, which is 4,000 times greater than what is used in a typical home. FPL is one of a few utilities in Florida that performs this type of work, which helps ensure reliable power for customers. The demonstration comes just days before the state's second Lineworker Appreciation Day on Aug. 26, when FPL recognizes the efforts of all its 1,700 electrical workers.
Each year, these specially trained crews, totaling 21 workers, take part in an annual high-voltage line work certification training at a facility in DeBary, Fla. The rigorous training teaches the workers how to work safely on energized lines while wearing special clothing that is a blend of fire-resistant and microscopic stainless steel fibers that allows electricity to pass around them. High-voltage line work includes repairing conductors and replacing insulators weighing hundreds of pounds, or the combined weight of four average men.
"FPL's electrical workers are some of the very best in the business and these brave individuals who work on high-voltage lines illustrate this day in and day out," said FPL Vice President of Power Delivery Manny Miranda. "Our electrical workers perform a wide range of tasks to help deliver reliable service to our customers. They maintain and test meters and ensure power is delivered to our customers throughout our 35-county service area. They do this work in a state that poses unique challenges, including lightning strikes, severe weather, perennial vegetation growth and interference from animals."
FPL is one of the few utilities in the state to use high-voltage power lines to provide power to its customers. Of the 6,700 miles of high-voltage lines in FPL's network, approximately 1,100 miles can carry as much as 500,000 volts.
Lineworkers Ensure Reliability to Customers
FPL recognizes that the exceptional reliability offered to its customers is a direct result of the dedication, skill and professionalism of its lineworkers:
- FPL's leading reliability is measured, in large part, using the number and length of outages its customers experience in a year. The company can claim to be one of the very best utilities in the business.
- FPL has the most reliable service of any investor-owned utility in the state and ranks in the top 25 percent of comparable utilities in the country.
- FPL provides more than 99.98 percent service reliability and has some of the fastest restoration speeds in the nation.
Safety is a Priority
During their recertification, lineworkers review safety procedures in a classroom before practicing them on the de-energized structures. Part of the recertification process includes rescuing an injured worker from the transmission structures. Fortunately, this has never been needed during high-voltage work in the field, according to Red Dunn, FPL safety and training manager.
"We make sure that our employees are safe as they perform this specialized work, which allows our customers to receive power without an interruption in service and maintain our system reliability," Dunn said.
EDITORS NOTE: B-roll and other images of lineworker demonstration on a 500,000 volt transmission line available here: B-roll: https://fpl.sharefile.com/d/s4e0ed46c18a4c13b
Photos: FPL 500kv Transmission work in Loxahatchee (password is FPL)
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest rate-regulated electric utility in Florida and serves the third-largest number of customers of any electric utility in the United States. FPL serves approximately 4.6 million customer accounts and is a leading Florida employer with approximately 10,000 employees as of year-end 2012. During the five-year period ended December 31, 2011, the company delivered the best service reliability among Florida investor-owned utilities, while its typical residential customer bills, based on data available in July 2012, are about 26 percent below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.FPL.com.
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company