Utility linemen: Lineworker Appreciation Day
Line construction: Florida Power & Light Company tips its hardhat to its electrical workers on Lineworker Appreciation Day, Aug. 26
Utility safety: Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today honors its electrical workers as part of Florida Lineworker Appreciation Day, which was established in 2012 by the Florida House of Representatives to recognize the vital work these men and women do every day. The company shows its appreciation to all of its electrical workers who help deliver reliable electricity to FPL's 4.8 million customer accounts more than half the population of Florida.
"FPL's electrical workforce represents the best in the industry," said FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy. "The men and women who ensure the lights stay on find themselves in some extraordinarily difficult conditions, yet they do their work safely and with a total commitment to our customers. Especially during hurricane season, and now as we monitor Tropical Storm Erika, we know our workers must be prepared to handle whatever Mother Nature throws their way and to restore service safely and as quickly as possible."
This year, Lineworker Appreciation Day falls during the week of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which initially made landfall in South Florida before it strengthened and struck Louisiana as a Category 3 storm. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Wilma, which made landfall in Southwest Florida and cut across the state to cause significant damage at the end of the 2005 storm season, one of the most active seasons on record.
"In good weather or bad, our dedicated men and women are working, sometimes around the clock, to provide safe, reliable power to our customers," said Manny Miranda, FPL senior vice president of power delivery. "Since Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, FPL has invested more than $2 billion into our system to make it stronger, smarter and more storm resilient, which helps speed the restoration efforts for our customers."
FPL's investments over the past 10 years include new technologies that help save time and allow lineworkers to restore electrical service more efficiently when outages occur, and sometimes even preventing outages from occurring:
• Restoration Spatial View This GPS-based tool, developed by FPL employees, allows lineworkers to remotely view the electric grid and customers' smart meters on their tablets or laptops. They can diagnose a problem and help restore service quickly, sometimes even before a customer notices.
• Damage Assessment Tool Once a storm clears, lineworkers used to travel the neighborhoods, log the damage with paper and pen, then drive to a facility to manually enter the data. Now, crews use their mobile devices to note the damage, which instantly uploads to FPL's system and speeds the dispatching of crews.
• Automated switches These switches, hundreds of which have already been installed, help detect, prevent and mitigate power interruptions by automatically restoring and rerouting power.
"The changes in technology have transformed the way we restore service to customers," said Richard Britt, an FPL restoration specialist. "Many of the tools we have now, which save our customers time and money, were unavailable even five years ago."
FPL's electrical workers support the company's 35-county service area in Florida, which consists of more than 27,000 square miles and approximately half the state's population. They are responsible for maintaining the more than 74,000 miles of power lines around the clock, 365 days a year, helping deliver 99.98 percent service reliability for the company's customers.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving approximately 4.8 million customer accounts across nearly half of the state of Florida. FPL's typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 30 percent lower than the latest national average and, in 2014, was the lowest in Florida among 55 reporting utilities for the fifth year in a row. FPL's service reliability is better than 99.98 percent, and its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among all utilities nationwide. The company was recognized in 2015 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities by Market Strategies International. A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,700 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, including being ranked in the top 10 worldwide for innovativeness and community responsibility as part of Fortune's 2015 list of "World's Most Admired Companies." NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun.