The 2023 hurricane season ends today, Thursday, Nov. 30. Thankfully, most Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) customers were spared a direct hit this year. Of course, not everyone was spared. And, we’re seeing increasingly severe and strong weather systems that can be just as impactful. Fortunately, FPL’s investments in strengthening the energy grid are paying dividends and improving our resilience against Florida’s increasingly severe weather.
A look back at storm season: Some of the most severe impacts to FPL’s service territory came from Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall as a major hurricane in Florida’s Big Bend region and affected roughly 200,000 FPL customers. Despite challenging conditions – destructive winds, torrential rain and devastating storm surge – essentially all FPL customers impacted by Idalia were restored within two days of the storm exiting Florida.
Built to better withstand severe weather: FPL’s year-round investments to strengthen and prepare the energy grid against severe weather benefited customers during the Hurricane Idalia restoration effort, improving the speed of restoration and reducing outage times. These strategic, long-term investments include:
• Replacing overhead neighborhood power lines with more resilient underground lines through the Storm Secure Underground Program – these underground lines performed approximately 12 times better than overhead lines during the storm.
• Installing thousands of intelligent devices throughout our smart grid, helping to avoid more than 70,000 outages during Idalia.
• Hardening main power lines, including those that serve homes and critical community facilities such as hospitals and 911 centers.
• And vegetation management near power lines, minimizing the impact of trees and debris that make contact with FPL equipment – the leading cause of outages.
Beyond Idalia: These system enhancements also proved invaluable against several unusual and unpredictable weather events seen across Florida this season, including multiple storms that brought heavy winds, rain and flooding – and even an unnamed, non-tropical low-pressure system affecting more than 250,000 FPL customers just two weeks ago. Again, thanks to the smart investments in the grid, all customers were essentially restored within one day of the storm exiting the state.
A message from FPL President and CEO Armando Pimentel: “This year, we once again saw the value of investing in and preparing the energy grid for Mother Nature. While the 2023 hurricane season is coming to an end, we want our customers to know that we are continuing to make strategic system improvements for a stronger, more resilient energy grid that our customers can count on in good weather and bad.”