Florida Power & Light enhances energy grid with planned upgrades in Holmes, Jackson and Washington Counties

Crews install a concrete power pole in Northwest Florida to improve resiliency during hurricanes and severe weather and also enhance reliability year-round. [CONTRIBUTED]

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Throughout 2024, Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) plans to make the following upgrades in Holmes, Jackson and Washington Counties as part of its ongoing commitment to avoid outages and restore power faster following severe weather. In the local community, these upgrades include maintaining trees and vegetation, a common cause of power outages, particularly during hurricanes and severe weather, along 662 miles of power lines and inspecting three main power lines and equipment using infrared technology to detect issues before they cause a power interruption. 

FPL continuously leverages new and innovative technologies to improve reliability for its customers. This year, the company is piloting the installation of automated underground switches which will help detect and isolate outages, further enhancing the reliability of underground lines. Crews also use “smart trimming” technology to identify and trim a leading cause of power outages: trees and other vegetation contacting power lines. Smart trimming also helps the company identify areas of concern and assign the work electronically, saving inspection time.

Cumulative improvements in the Holmes, Jackson and Washington Counties area: FPL made the following improvements from 2019 – 2023:

  • Strengthened 13 main power lines, including those that serve critical services.  
  • Inspected 18,404 power poles for strength.
  • Installed smart grid technology, including 473 automated switches on main and neighborhood power lines.  

“We are so pleased to be able to offer these system upgrades to our customers in Holmes, Jackson and Washington Counties. Our dedicated team at FPL is committed to providing you with safe and reliable electric service,” said Patrick Davidson, local area manager at FPL. “These upgrades, including the very latest grid technology, will help get the lights back on faster after storms.”

An annual report filed on March 1 with the Florida Public Service Commission details how FPL delivered the best service reliability in company history last year. In the most recent statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, FPL’s service reliability was nearly three times better than the national average.