OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. — Florida Power & Light Company is upgrading the energy grid in Okaloosa County and making numerous improvements aimed at enhancing service and reliability, the electric utility has announced.
According to FPL, it is strengthening power poles, managing trees, and vegetation near power lines, installing smart grid technology, and regularly inspecting equipment. The electric utility said it has improved service reliability by 58% since it began serving Northwest Florida in 2019.
“We understand how much our customers depend on the critical service we provide,” said Eric Silagy, chairman and CEO of FPL.
“We know that in Florida, it’s not a matter of if, but when the next storm will impact our state. Our disciplined infrastructure and technology investments are improving day-to-day service for customers and helping us speed restoration after a storm.”
According to FPL, it is making the following improvements in Okaloosa County this year:
- Strengthening seven main power lines, including those that serve critical services that are necessary for communities to recover faster after major storms.
- Managing trees and vegetation – a common cause of power outages, particularly during hurricanes and severe weather — along 287 miles of power lines.
- Installing smart grid technology, including 716 automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines, to help detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur.
FPL said it made the following improvements in Okaloosa County from 2019 – 2021:
- Strengthened 16 miles of main power lines, including those that serve critical services.
- Inspected and maintained vegetation near 820 miles of power lines.
- Inspected 23,348 power poles for strength.
- Installed smart grid technology, including 1,204 automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines.
- Inspected 239 main power lines and equipment using infrared technology.
FPL said it has adopted emerging technology to help improve day-to-day service reliability.
FPL uses drones and robots to conduct regular assessments and locate potential power issues, fixing many problems before they affect customers. Intelligent devices can automatically redirect power, self-heal and eliminate or minimize customers affected — resulting in more than 10 million outages avoided over the last decade for FPL customers, FPL said in its statement.
FPL said it is continuing to boost reliability by putting more power lines underground in neighborhoods that can most benefit based on analysis of past hurricane outages, vegetation-related service interruptions and other reliability data.
FPL’s Storm Secure Underground Pilot Program will complete 11 projects in Northwest Florida by the end of 2022, and FPL plans to bring the benefits of undergrounding to more neighborhoods across Florida in the future, FLP said.
In 2021, the average customer in Northwest Florida experienced the fewest outages and momentary interruptions or flickers of any year in company history and the shortest overall duration of outages ever, FPL said.
Florida Power & Light Company is America’s largest electric utility, serving more customers and selling more power than any other utility, FPL said.