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Strengthening the energy grid in Sarasota: FPL details local efforts to improve storm resiliency, overall service reliability

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  • | 12:00 a.m. May 18, 2023
  • Sarasota
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In 2023, FPL plans to make a number of upgrades in Sarasota as part of an ongoing effort to enhance day-to-day reliability and improve resiliency in the face of severe weather. These investments include moving more power lines underground, strengthening overhead lines and installing more intelligent devices along the energy grid to help detect potential problems and restore power faster when outages do occur. The investments have the added benefit of improving day-to-day reliability for customers as well.

2023 improvements in the Sarasota area 

  • FPL plans to make the following improvements in and near Sarasota this year: 
  • Strengthening 22 main power lines, including those that serve critical services that are necessary for communities to recover faster after major storms. 
  • Maintaining trees and vegetation – a leading cause of power outages, particularly during hurricanes and severe weather -- along 1,155 miles of power lines.
  • Inspecting 22,079 power poles in Sarasota as part of an eight-year inspection cycle, strengthening or replacing those that no longer meet FPL’s industry-leading standards.
  • Installing smart grid technology, including nine automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines to help detect problems and restore service faster when outages occur. 
  • Inspecting 173 main power lines and equipment using infrared technology to detect issues before they cause a power interruption.  

When the planned 2023 work is complete, FPL will have made the following improvements in and near Sarasota since the historic 2004-2005 hurricane seasons: 

  • Strengthened 121 main power lines, including those that serve critical services. 
  • Inspected and maintained vegetation near 11,754 miles of power lines -- an average of 691 miles per year.  
  • Inspected all 88,530 power poles every eight years. 
  • Installed smart grid technology, including 5,548 automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines. 
  • Inspected 376 main power lines and equipment using infrared technology. 

“No system is hurricane-proof, and there will be power outages during storms, but detailed assessments following Hurricanes Ian and Nicole showed FPL’s investments to storm-harden its energy grid continue to benefit customers, speeding restoration,” said Manny Miranda, executive vice president of power delivery for FPL.

As bad as Hurricane Ian was, FPL's sustained grid enhancements paid off for many residents of Southwest Florida, reducing restoration times. Strengthening power poles, managing trees and vegetation near power lines, installing smart grid technology to fix problems before they affect customers and using robots and drones to regularly inspect equipment have helped improve service reliability by 41% since 2006. These ongoing upgrades for the nearly 5.8 million FPL customers from Southeast to Northwest Florida have resulted in improving key industry metrics such as the average amount of time a customer experienced an outage, the average number of interruptions and the average number of momentary interruptions or flickers.

“We are committed to helping the many people in Southwest Florida who are still recovering from Hurricane Ian, months after the storm,” said Dev Iglesias, local external affairs manager for FPL. “Our year-round preparations will reduce power interruptions and lead to faster restorations after major storms."

In 2022, for the seventh time in eight years, FPL was awarded the ReliabilityOne® National Reliability Award. Presented by PA Consulting, the award is widely regarded in the energy industry as one of the most prestigious honors and reinforces FPL’s commitment to provide customers with the nation’s most reliable service.  


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