As hurricane season continues without a storm so far, Florida Power Light Company (FPL) is making improvements that will lessen the number of Coconut Creek customers without power the next time a hurricane hits South Florida, according to the company.
This year, FPL is installing seven automated switches along its main “feeder” power lines and 64 automated switches along smaller “lateral” lines serving neighborhoods in Coconut Creek as part of the company’s electric system upgrades in the area.
FPL claims the devices can detect and prevent electrical grid problems, and reroute and restore power when necessary, reducing the number of customers affected by an outage.
“FPL is investing to build a stronger and smarter grid our customers in Coconut Creek can count on in good weather and bad,” said Manny Miranda, FPL senior vice president of power delivery. “This includes a number of new projects in the area, starting with the installation of smart, automated switches that provide greater visibility across the electric system and allow us to restore power for our customers faster when there is an issue.”
In Coconut Creek, old wooden utility poles will also be replaced with new concrete ones that are designed to withstand up to 145 mph winds from a Category 4 hurricane. Category 4 hurricane winds are between 130 and 156 mph.
To cut down on power outages, FPL will also inspect 560 utility poles for strength, as well as inspect three main power lines with advanced infrared technology, and also clear vegetation from 45 miles of power lines. Vegetation is a common cause of power outages.
Previous improvements to all of South Florida since the last major hurricanes in 2005, include the inspection of 1,710 utility poles, the reinforcement of four main lines that serve Coconut Creek facilities, such as the Government Center and the Broward Emergency Medical Services telecom tower, and the removal of problem trees and vegetation from 435 miles of power lines. FPL claims the improvements since 2005 have cost about $2 billion.
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