BREVARD COUNTY – Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) continues to make investments ahead of storm season to make the energy grid smarter, stronger and more storm resilient.

On Wednesday in Brevard County, FPL installed a three-ton concrete pole that is capable of withstanding hurricane-force winds. The pole is the first of a project that spans 6.4 miles and will improve reliability year-round for 2,394 customers.

“We’ve been making infrastructure improvements like this for over a decade,” said Vic Spruill, FPL hardening manager. “It all started back in 2004 and 2005, during the hurricane seasons where we were getting hit by a hurricane and have to rebuild; getting hit by a second hurricane and have to rebuild; getting hit by a third hurricane and have to rebuild.”

The installation is the latest improvement the company has made to the energy grid in Brevard County, having upgraded or strengthened 358 main power lines since 2006, lines that serve facilities such as hospitals and police fire stations. The company plans to strengthen an additional 231 main lines in 2022.

It’s not the only investment FPL is making to strengthen the energy grid, as the company is also using drones to proactively assess its equipment, identifying potential issues before an outage occurs.

FPL drone pilots conducted a drone assessment shortly after the installation of the concrete pole, displaying how the company uses drones in a number of ways.

Drones are equipped with infrared technology that allows pilots to check equipment for potential issues before an outage occurs. They also are able to compare images and videos of equipment captured today to previous assessments, comparing the two visuals of their equipment to identify if anything has changed.

“FPL uses drones in good weather and bad to assess our overhead power equipment,” said Mike Dorr, FPL senior drone pilot. “Drones are ideally suited to take high quality photos and videos without impacting our customers.”

FPL first began using drones in 2016. The company conducted 120,000 flights in 2021 and is currently on pace to surpass that total in 2022.

While drones are a valuable tool in FPL’s technology mix, they aren’t not the only one. The company has installed close to 200,000 intelligent devices on the energy grid, devices that can re-route power if an outage occurs, reducing the duration of a power outage if one does occur, and also helping avoid customer interruptions.

These are all part of FPL’s efforts to improve reliability for customers, both during storm season and throughout the year. Since 2006, the company has improved reliability by nearly 40%, having avoided more than 8.5 million outages since 2011.

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