Florida Power & Light Co. joined Chicago-based S&C Electric Co. to open S&C's West Palm Beach manufacturing facility, a site that will turn out thousands of smart grid devices aimed at improving service for FPL's 4.8 million customers.
FPL's demand for automated devices that help decrease the number of customers affected by momentary outages, or "flickers," is the primary driver for S&C's decision to site their new facility in south Florida. The new manufacturing facility will produce S&C's TripSaver II Cutout-Mounted Recloser, an automated switch FPL is purchasing by the thousands and placing on neighborhood power lines.
Automated switches work similar to a breaker in a home, but with the added benefit of being able to automatically re-energize, improving the self-healing capabilities of the electric system — technology that makes the system more resilient following severe weather.
Deploying smart grid technology is part of FPL's ongoing effort to modernize the electric grid and deliver everyday reliable service, while also reducing costs for customers. FPL plans to install more than 20,000 automated switches this year alone.
The new S&C facility represents a $3 million investment in Florida and is expected to bring 170 new jobs to the state, including manufacturing operations and installing the new devices along the FPL electric system.