About "Ask the Energy Expert"
Irene White works in Distribution, helping ensure the quality and reliability of the electric service you receive.
Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted anytime to our Ask the Energy Expert blog. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here
Our power goes off four or five times a week for a split second, just long enough to reboot the computer, shut off the dryer, and reset our digital clocks! Why does this happen?
We know that even short interruptions are an inconvenience for our customers, and we apologize for the disruptions you’ve been experiencing. In 2010, we reduced the average number of momentary interruptions by 19%, so now our average customer experiences them infrequently. Your report of several a week is extremely unusual.
Very brief power interruptions, commonly called “flickers,” are the result of a momentary disruption in the flow of electricity. They can occur if a main power line short circuits or if something, such as a tree branch or an animal, comes into contact with a power line. When this happens, the system instantly resets to protect itself from damage and to allow for the safe delivery of electricity.
In Florida, tree limbs, especially palm fronds, are among the most common causes of power outages and flickering lights. If you look around your neighborhood, you’re sure to see trees planted directly under power lines. As they grow, they’ll interfere with the power lines and cause flickers and outages. You can help ensure reliable service by planting the right tree in the right place
and practicing responsible landscaping and tree maintenance in your own yard.
We’re working hard to reduce the number of flickers our customers experience. Last year alone, FPL proactively cleared the vegetation along more than 11,000 miles of power lines throughout the state to help ensure you receive reliable electric service.
Another major cause of flickers is bad weather, especially lightning. Since Florida is the lightning strike capital of the nation, dealing with this is a challenge! At our Reliability Assurance Lab, we simulate lightning strikes
on our equipment to identify the best way to handle its effects and reduce the flickers it causes.
Our focus on reducing flickers is paying off and we’ll continue to work to bring you more reliable service every day.
[NOTE: Of course, if the lights in part of your home are constantly dimming or turning on and off quickly, then we recommend you contact a licensed electrician.]