Hardening the energy grid means improving your service
When something is hardened, most people believe that it is impenetrable, like a fortress or a bank vault. So, what do we mean when FPL hardens the energy grid?
Before I continue, let me dispel some myths. Hardening does not:
- Make the grid stormproof
- Prevent all outages
- Include only concrete poles
Hardening means that we are installing power poles, which can be a combination of wood and concrete, that will be able to withstand hurricane-force winds. Hardening also means that we are shortening the span between poles by installing additional poles and possibly placing some sections of power lines underground.
These upgrades are in addition to FPL’s extensive, year-round storm preparedness program and other reliability initiatives, such as inspecting electrical equipment using advanced infrared technology, and inspecting and replacing power poles that do not meet our standards for strength.
By hardening main power lines (also called feeders), which help provide power to thousands of customers, we are improving the reliability of our service. We have seen that hardened main power lines perform 40 percent better than non-hardened power lines. That means fewer outages for you.
Hardening also means that we are able to speed the restoration effort after a storm. With more of our poles withstanding a storm, we are able to restore power faster because it takes longer to replace damaged power poles than it does to repair a downed power line. For instance, we replaced 4,600 damaged poles after Hurricane Irma, compared with 12,400 poles after Hurricane Wilma more than a decade ago.
Our stronger grid, along with other enhancements the company has made since 2006, shaved days off the restoration time during Hurricane Irma. In fact, we were able to restore 50 percent of customers or more than 2 million customer accounts within one day, compared with five days after Hurricane Wilma.
Some of our customers ask why we don’t underground the whole grid. Actually, more than 40 percent of the electric grid that distributes energy to customer homes and businesses is underground. And, hardening, just like undergrounding, produces the same results – better reliability and faster restoration after severe weather.
While these enhancements provide improved results, keep in mind that somewhere along the grid is an overhead line that could affect your service, even if your power lines are underground.
Interested in these and other improvements we are making to the energy grid to enhance the reliability of your service? Please visit FPL.com/maps to see recent upgrades made near your home or business.