The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved storm hardening plans, which are updated every three years, for Florida’s electric investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to help strengthen the electric grid and prevent widespread storm outages throughout the state.
“Storm hardening activities reinforce the critical utility infrastructure before storms even occur, which reduces restoration costs and customer outages,” said PSC Chairman Julie Brown. “As we witnessed firsthand this year, the IOU’s preparation expedites response times and minimizes electrical outages, helping communities and their economies recover more quickly.”
She added, “Florida has been recognized as a national leader in preparing for, and responding to, storm damage. Our storm hardening rules don’t allow for complacency; we ensure that Florida’s IOUs stay prepared for severe weather.”
The electric IOUs’ approved plans, effective through 2018, include ongoing storm preparedness initiatives to harden infrastructure. The plans also provide updates to wooden pole inspection programs, National Electric Safety Code compliance, mitigation of flooding and storm surge damage, deployment strategies, as well as other storm hardening measures.
After a series of hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 left millions of Floridians without power for days or even weeks, the PSC established rules to require IOUs to protect delivery systems and improve power restoration. At the PSC’s annual Hurricane Preparedness Briefing in April, the CEOs of Florida’s five IOUs detailed their transmission structure hardening plans, coordination with local governments and other utilities, and natural disaster preparedness and recovery programs.
Plans were submitted by Duke Energy Florida, LLC; Tampa Electric Company; Gulf Power Company; and Florida Public Utilities Company. Florida Power & Light Company’s plan was approved by the PSC on November 29, as part of the Settlement Agreement in its rate case.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.
Follow the PSC on Twitter, @floridapsc.