Twenty-five years ago, Hurricane Andrew roared through Miami-Dade County, cutting a path of devastation unlike any other storm that could be remembered.
More than 25,000 homes were destroyed – in many cases leaving only concrete foundations – along with nearly 100,000 more that were severely damaged. Nearly 1.4 million households were without power after Hurricane Andrew. Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) employees, some of whom lost their homes, sprang into action to restore power in the storm’s aftermath. FPL worked with community partners to rebuild the Miami area and make improvements to be better positioned for tropical storms.
Manny Miranda, now the senior vice president of power delivery for FPL, managed part of the company’s restoration effort in Andrew’s aftermath. Crews worked long hours that were made even more demanding due to the summer heat. Some areas were too damaged to receive power.
“Those of us who helped rebuild Miami-Dade County after Hurricane Andrew hope we never experience a similar storm,” said Manny Miranda, senior vice president of power delivery for FPL. “But we learn from every storm and improve upon the way we respond to help return life to normal safely and as quickly as possible for our customers. Working with our community partners, including government agencies and first-responders, combined with the billions of dollars in energy grid investments we have made over the past decade, we believe we are much better prepared to respond to whatever Mother Nature throws our way.”
Be it Hurricane Andrew or last year’s Hurricane Matthew, preparation for any type of emergency is crucial. And while we are in the middle of storm season, it’s time to make sure you, your family and your business has a plan to put into action when storm warnings and watches are posted.
For FPL, the largest energy company in the state, there is a saying: any time there isn’t a storm, the company prepares for one.
“Hurricane Matthew showed its strength and unpredictability last year,” Miranda said. “Our employees were prepared and ready to respond because of the constant training they receive. And, the energy grid was prepared, as well, due to the nearly $3 billion in investments we have made over the past 11 years that provide reliable service to our customers in good weather and bad.”
Investments to grid make a difference
FPL’s investments to the grid were tested last year during Hurricane Matthew and demonstrated its benefit to customers. The company was able to restore 99 percent of customers affected by the storm by the end of two full days of restoration following the hurricane’s exit from its service area. Automated switches installed on poles and power lines prevented 118,000 customer interruptions, and no FPL transmission poles or strengthened main power line poles failed.
During the past 11 years, FPL has made the energy grid stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient to provide reliable service to its customers and to get the communities it serves back to normal faster following severe weather:
- Strengthening 860 main power lines, including those that serve critical community facilities and services, such as hospitals, police and fire stations, grocery stores, gas stations and other services necessary for communities to recover after a storm;
- Clearing vegetation – a major cause of power outages – from more than 150,000 miles of power lines;
- Inspecting the company’s 1.2 million power poles every eight years, and upgrading or replacing those that no longer meet FPL’s standards for strength; and
- Installing more than 4.9 million smart meters and 83,000 intelligent devices to help predict, reduce and prevent power outages, and restore power faster if outages occur.
Before a storm threatens
FPL is prepared for storm season. Are you? Here are some tips to help you prepare and keep your family safe this storm season:
- Create an emergency plan for your family, including where you and your pets will go if there is an evacuation.
- If someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered, life-sustaining medical equipment, review your family emergency plan for backup power or make arrangements to relocate when a storm warning is issued.
- Have your trees properly trimmed by a specially trained line-clearing specialist to minimize their potential impact on your home and neighborhood. Make sure debris is cleared prior to when trash pickup is suspended.
- Stay at least 10 feet away from neighborhood power lines when you are making any preparations.
For more tips on how to stay safe and prepare for the 2017 storm season, visit FPL.com/storm.
“No storm is the same and we know that there will be outages caused by a storm,” Miranda said. “That is why we constantly prepare and ask ourselves what can we do better. At FPL, we’ve worked hard to put ourselves in the best possible position to respond to severe weather and restore our customers’ power safely and as quickly as possible after a storm strikes. Just like FPL has a plan, we encourage our customers to have a plan, too.”
Above content provided by Florida Power & Light.