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Power company holds drill, learns lessons from Hurricane Irma

What did FPL learn from Hurricane Irma?
Posted at 1:17 AM, May 03, 2018

In advance of hurricane season, Florida Power and Light is reviewing plans to make sure power is restored quickly after a storm. 

This week the company is holding its annual storm drill, simulating a Category 3 hurricane. 

During the drill, the company says it is incorporating lessons learned from Hurricane Irma, which knocked out power to 6.7 million electrical customers, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

EIA reports the rate of electric service restoration following Hurricane Irma was faster than Hurricane Wilma in 2005. 

Five days after Irma’s landfall, the share of customers without power had fallen from a peak of 64 percent down to 18 percent -- a recovery rate of about 9 percent of customers per day.

Power outages during Wilma declined from 36 percent of customers to 16 percent by the fifth day after landfall. This is an average recovery rate of about 4 percent of customers per day. 

FPL credits the improvement to money spent on infrastructure improvements. 

Since 2006, more than 860 main power lines were hardened; within the next five to seven years FPL wants to harden all of them.

Strengthened power lines perform approximately 40 percent better than non-strengthened lines, FPL said.

This year, FPL plans to undertake the following additional initiatives to improve the reliability

of service:

  • Work with our partner communities and customers to keep trees and vegetation – a leading cause of power outages – away from power lines
  • Implement a pilot program to underground certain neighborhood power lines. (Right now FPL is in the process of identifying areas that could benefit from it.)