JUNO BEACH, Fla., April 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In preparation for the 2015 hurricane season, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today hosted a "staging site" drill at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla. More than 900 employees simulated what would be a massive logistical response to a major hurricane, including the deployment of thousands of workers and associated equipment.
"Today's staging site drill is yet another visible demonstration of how FPL prepares year-round to safely and quickly restore power when a major event, such as a major hurricane, impacts our customers' lives," said Manny Miranda, vice president of power delivery for FPL. "These employee-focused exercises are key elements of our power restoration plan, providing our team with the hands-on experience that is necessary when restoring power in the wake of such an event."
Gulfstream Park is a designated "staging site" – one of 90 expansive, strategic locations across the state where FPL can base utility crews, support staff and equipment as part of a restoration effort. The site has been used during prior events, including hurricanes Wilma, Frances and Jeanne.
Staging sites operate like mini-cities. It takes a virtual army of crews, including thousands from out of state, to augment the FPL team and restore power following a major hurricane. Staging sites allow FPL to position restoration crews closer to affected areas in order to restore service to customers as quickly as possible and help get communities back on their feet.
During this week's drill, storm restoration specialists participated in damage briefings, received work assignments and prepared convoys for deployment throughout the area.
This year's hurricane season, beginning June 1, also marks the 10th anniversary of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, which affected millions of FPL customers. Since the 2005 storm season, FPL has invested more than $2 billion to strengthen the electric grid against severe weather, including inspecting more than 1.2 million power poles and strengthening the poles and wires that serve critical facilities in our communities. The company also has installed 4.7 million smart meters and thousands of intelligent devices throughout its system to help reduce the number of outages and restore service faster when outages do occur.
"We all must safeguard against complacency, particularly where it concerns hurricanes," said Miranda. "At FPL, we've worked hard to put ourselves in the best possible position to respond to severe weather and we never stop working to improve. We know that it's not a question of if, but when a hurricane will strike. While we have made significant investments in our electric system, we know there still will be power outages following a major storm. Just as we continue to prepare and plan, we encourage our customers to do the same - make a storm plan now for their families and businesses."
For more information about FPL's storm preparedness plans and tips for residents and businesses to prepare before storm season begins, please visit www.FPL.com/storm.
About Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving more than 4.7 million customer accounts across nearly half of the state of Florida. FPL's typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 25 percent lower than the national average and, in 2014, was the lowest in Florida among reporting utilities for the fifth year in a row. FPL's service reliability is better than 99.98 percent, and its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among all utilities nationwide. The company was recognized in 2014 as the most trusted U.S. electric utility by Market Strategies International, and has earned the national ServiceOne Award for outstanding customer service for an unprecedented 10 consecutive years. A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,700 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a leading clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, including being named to Fortune's list of "World's Most Admired Companies." NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun. For more information, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.FPL.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.
Editor's Note: Photos and b-roll are available in the Digital Library of FPL's Newsroom. Visit www.FPL.com/newsroom.
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company