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FPL Customers Benefit From Underground Power Lines in Pilot Project

Source: 
Targeted News Service (Press Releases)

JUNO BEACH, Florida, Oct. 14 -- Florida Power and Light, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, issued the following news release:

Florida Power & Light Company customers are benefiting from more reliable electric service because their neighborhood overhead power lines were moved underground as part of a pilot program FPL is using to prepare for more widespread undergrounding in the years ahead.

FPL launched its Storm Secure Underground Pilot Program -- the first such program in Florida - two years ago to find cost-effective ways to replace neighborhood overhead power lines with more reliable underground lines in targeted communities. Trees and vegetation coming into contact with overhead power lines and equipment were the leading cause of outages when Hurricane Irma slammed Florida in 2017. Neighborhood power lines are chosen for the program based on past hurricane outage performance, a history of vegetation-related interruptions and other reliability factors.

As of Oct. 1, FPL has completed more than 160 Storm Secure Underground Program projects for customers in neighborhoods throughout the company's 35-county service area. More than 53 miles of overhead lines have been placed underground as part of the pilot. More than 100 additional projects are under construction.

"Putting the power lines underground has improved reliability and peace of mind in our community," said customer Tammi Hellinger of Pinecrest in Miami-Dade County. "Our neighborhood has a lot of trees and we would often lose power during storms when branches would blow into overhead power lines. We were without power for a long time after Hurricane Irma. Placing the lines underground is much better."

Said customer Rob Bird of Ormond Beach in Volusia County: "This is definitely an improvement. I have not had a power outage since our lines were put underground in June, and we've had plenty of thunderstorms. What matters most is having reliable power."

The pilot projects are helping FPL prepare for more undergrounding in the coming years.

As part of the 10-year Storm Protection Plan approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, FPL estimates that between 300 and 700 neighborhood power lines will be placed underground annually from 2021 to 2023.

Some of the lessons FPL has already learned from the pilot:

* Identifying more efficient design and construction practices based on real-world experience

* Determining customer preferences and finding better ways to communicate with them about upcoming projects in their neighborhoods

* Minimizing disruptions for customers by using technology such as ground-penetrating radar to detect and avoid other underground facilities, such as telephone and cable lines and water mains

* Reducing inconveniences to customers by putting power lines, where feasible, in public rights-of-way rather than in private property

* Implementing cloud-based technology to better manage customer outreach and construction projects

* Identifying design and construction efficiencies by evaluating projects at the feeder, or main, power line level rather than selecting stand-alone neighborhood power lines.

"The Storm Secure Underground Program pilot is one of the many ways we demonstrate our commitment to continuously improving the safe and reliable power we provide to our customers," said FPL Senior Vice President of Power Delivery Manny Miranda. "As we prepare to put more neighborhood power lines underground in the coming decade, we are learning valuable lessons from the pilot that will benefit all of our customers for years to come."

B-Roll from Hialeah: https://fpl.sharefile.com/d-s53067231b9c4512a

B-Roll from Jensen Beach: https://fpl.sharefile.com/d-s898c59e4c0d48dab

Discussions

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Oct 16, 2020 8:03 pm GMT

The cost to bury power lines is 10 times higher up front but pays in the long run. In Florida like Arizona and other temperate areas the lines don't have to be too deep. 

What mehtod did you use to reduce the cost of buring the lines? How do you handle flooding and other conditions?

 

 

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