JUNO BEACH, Fla., May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company urges customers to finalize their storm plans and be ready for the June 1 start of Hurricane Season, which is just days away. Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast last year showed that it just takes one storm to cause significant damage and widespread power outages.
"It's not a question if we are going to get a storm in Florida, it's a question of where and when it's going to hit," said FPL President Eric Silagy. "While we keep adding new technology, strengthening our electric grid and preparing year-round for storms, hurricanes are extreme forces of nature that will cause power outages. We are focused on getting customers' lives, communities and businesses back to normal as quickly as possible after a storm strikes."
On May 1, 2013, FPL filed plans with the Florida Public Service Commission to invest approximately half a billion dollars over the next three years to continue to improve the overall resiliency of the electric system against high winds associated with hurricanes and other major weather events. This includes new storm-surge detection and protection efforts. This accelerated hardening effort builds upon the approved program FPL has been executing since 2007. From 2007 through 2012, FPL invested a total of nearly $460 million to strengthen the electricity-delivery backbone and harden infrastructure serving facilities that are critical to communities such as hospitals, police and fire stations, 911 facilities, water-treatment plants, grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies.
FPL tips for customers before a storm threatens
- Update the phone number and e-mail address on your FPL account.
- When you call, our computers recognize your phone number and automatically match it to your FPL account.
- Keep a copy of your FPL bill with you or store your account number in your smart phone or other electronic device. Having your FPL account number handy will help us serve you more quickly.
- By calling 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) and entering your account number, you will be able to receive information through our automated system.
- Have your trees properly trimmed to minimize their potential impact on your home and neighborhood. Make sure this is completed prior to a Hurricane Warning when trash pickup will be suspended.
- Do not attempt to trim any vegetation growing near any overhead power lines. Only specially trained line-clearing professionals should work around power lines. Check your local listings to locate a contractor qualified to trim vegetation around power lines.
- If someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered, life-sustaining medical equipment, review your family emergency plan for backup power or make arrangements to relocate when a storm warning is issued.
- Keep a battery-operated radio with you and a two-week supply of fresh batteries. A battery-operated radio may be the only way you will receive emergency public information during a disaster. Also stock up on:
- non-perishable food
- extra batteries
- baby supplies
- pet food
- Purchase bottled water. The American Red Cross recommends one gallon of water per person per day.
- Check emergency equipment:
- battery-operated radios
- extension cords
- emergency generators
- If your preparation plans include the operation of a portable generator, test it now. Be sure to set it up outside away from all open windows, including neighbors' windows, and connect appliances directly to it. Do not wire your generator directly to your breaker or fuse box, because the power you generate may flow back into power lines and cause injuries. It's also a good idea to have a carbon monoxide alarm inside your home.
"Having a well-thought hurricane plan is important for all of us who live in Florida," Silagy said. "We want our customers to be prepared for hurricane season and be thinking now about any adjustments they would have to make if they experience extended power outages after a storm."
FPL's Year-Round and Pre-Season Preparations
FPL prepares throughout the year for hurricane season, conducting extensive training for employees. Thousands of FPL employees have storm assignments in addition to their regular positions. As part of its storm preparation plan, FPL conducts an annual week-long storm drill, which took place this year April 29-May 3 with a simulated Category 3 storm. FPL also coordinates assistance agreements with other utilities for out-of-state support, orders in advance restoration supplies and equipment and secures staging sites throughout Florida. These advanced preparations enable the company to quickly deploy crews and equipment to storm-damaged communities.
As a Storm Approaches
In advance of a storm making landfall, FPL activates its emergency response plan to prepare for potential damage to the electric infrastructure, which can be caused by high winds, lightning, flooding, storm surge, blowing debris or falling trees. These conditions can affect both overhead and underground power lines, and customers should be aware that restoring power after a damaging storm can be lengthy.
FPL's community-focused restoration process concentrates on restoring power to the most critical functions first, such as hospitals, police and fire stations, and 911 centers, and then to the most people in the shortest time possible for maximum benefit to the community.
After a Storm
If a storm strikes, FPL will provide updated restoration time estimates and other progress reports on its website (www.FPL.com/storm), Twitter (www.twitter.com/insideFPL), Facebook (www.facebook.com/FPLconnect), YouTube (www.youtube.com/FPL), FPL's blog (www.FPLblog.com) and FPL's Power Tracker (www.FPL.com/powertracker).
NOTE TO EDITORS: For additional information on FPL's storm readiness and b-roll, please call the 24/7 FPL Media Line at 305-552-3888 or visit FPL's Newsroom (http://newsroom.fpl.com/).
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, 2012, the company delivered the best service reliability among Florida investor-owned utilities. As of year-end 2012, its typical residential customer bills are the lowest in Florida, and 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