Florida Power & Light Co. has announced as part of its annual filing with the Florida Public Service Commission that 2013 was a record-setting year for electric system reliability. For the second consecutive year, FPL achieved its best-ever overall reliability performance, based upon the average time a typical customer was without electric service (System Average Interruption Duration Index), considered the utility industry's best overall reliability indicator. Since 2006, FPL has invested more than $1.4 billion as part of its efforts to improve electric service reliability.
"FPL recognizes that reliable electric service and low bills are at the core of the value proposition we provide our customers," said Eric Silagy, president of FPL. "During the last two years alone, we've made significant progress, reducing the average time a customer was without service by 21 percent. The investments we are making to enhance our electric system, coupled with the continued installation of smart grid technologies throughout the FPL network, are clearly benefiting customers. While we're proud to deliver more than 99.98 percent service reliability, we remain laser-focused on doing all we can to provide the greatest reliability for all of our customers."
This filing highlights FPL's efforts to upgrade its distribution and transmission systems to better withstand severe weather and enable the company to restore service more quickly following storm-related outages. The distribution system includes neighborhood power lines and equipment that deliver electricity to homes and businesses. The transmission infrastructure includes high-voltage lines that deliver electricity from power plants to the distribution system.
In addition to outlining FPL's major progress in 2013 to reinforce the electric grid, the filing also includes the company's planned work in 2014:
- Completed the inspection of more than 1 million distribution poles. FPL examined 138,000 distribution poles for strength in 2013, completing the inspection of 1,076,000 poles since 2006. In addition, FPL continued to reinforce or replace poles that no longer met its standards for strength. In 2014, the company has begun its second eight-year inspection cycle and plans to examine more than 130,000 distribution poles.
- Inspected all of FPL's more than 65,000 transmission poles/structures. FPL performed a visual inspection of its entire inventory of transmission system structures. In 2014, the company again will examine 100 percent of its transmission structures.
- Cleared vegetation from 15,800 miles of power lines. FPL continued its year-round program to proactively clear tree limbs, palm fronds and other vegetation from its distribution lines. Vegetation growing near power lines is a common cause of outages, and the company has a year-round program to proactively clear its lines. In 2014, FPL plans to clear an additional 15,000 miles of power lines to enhance service reliability.
FPL expects 2014 to be its most ambitious year on record in terms of strengthening its electric system to better withstand major storms. The company is investing more than $170 million in major upgrades to nearly 100 main power lines and other infrastructure to help communities recover more quickly following major storms and improve everyday reliability for its customers. The effort is part of FPL's three-year (2013-2015) plan to invest more than $428 million in system upgrades to better withstand severe weather.