Florida Power & Light (FPL) is using this week to train employees in preparation for the upcoming active hurricane season.
More than 3,500 FPL employees are undergoing the company’s annual storm drill this week, training under a simulated hurricane to test their response ahead of storm season which is set to begin on June 1. During the simulated exercise, Hurricane Constantine – a mock Category 3 storm – made a simulated landfall near Panama City. FPL employees were evaluated on their response and restoration efforts, including operations, logistics, communications and customer service.
As part of the exercise, FPL also showcased new technology used to assist with storm restoration, including drones like its latest FPLAir One, which is used to assess damage safely and quickly after a storm and can fly up to a thousand miles without needing to refuel.
FPL noted that the drill is a critical component of its extensive year-round training to ensure employees are ready to respond when customers need them most.
“FPL works continuously to improve the way we respond to hurricanes and how we keep our customers informed about restorations,” said Eric Silagy, chairman and CEO of FPL. “Our goal to get power restored safely and as quickly as possible has not changed. With our continued use of advanced technologies and the unwavering commitment of our employees to be there for customers when they need us most, FPL is more prepared for storm season than ever before. Still, it’s important to remember that no system is hurricane proof. That’s why it’s critical that all Floridians – regardless of whether they’ve experienced a storm – ensure they have a plan in place. The actions all of us take today – before a hurricane is on approach to Florida – will make a meaningful difference in how we recover as a state.”
Researchers predict that the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season — which runs from June 1 to November 30 — will be very active, with a recent forecast calling for nineteen named storms with nine of them reaching hurricane status. Of the nine, four are forecast to become a major hurricane.
The upcoming hurricane season also marks 30 years since Hurricane Andrew and five years since Hurricane Irma hammered the state of Florida.
Since the devastation left by both Category 5 storms, FPL has touted several significant investments to protect the grid against extreme weather and improve day-to-day reliability. These include hardening main power lines that serve critical community facilities and services, installing more than 195,000 devices along the grid to detect and prevent power outages and minimize restoration times, and placing more neighborhood power lines underground through the Storm Secure Underground Pilot Program, which has completed more than 600 projects through the end of 2021.
“FPL learns from every storm, and the milestone anniversaries of Andrew and Irma remind us that we must always look for innovative ways to approach how we restore power and serve our customers,” said Manny Miranda, executive vice president of FPL power delivery. “Today, we can respond to hurricanes better than ever as a result of the lessons we’ve learned from previous storms and the improvements we’ve made, using advanced technologies and the experience of our team.”