Ormond Beach power poles will be inspected every eight years by FPL.
Hurricane-related power outages have been reduced by about one week on average, and Florida Power and Light is working toward a goal to put 98% of all power lines underground by 2024, as part of a $4 billion statewide energy investment since 2006.
According to an FPL press release in April, 40% of power lines are already underground, but the energy grid investments aim to harden or underground up to 98% of existing power lines. These efforts will secure power for community centers like hospitals and fire or police departments.
“Since Hurricane Wilma, we realized that there were changes that we needed to make as a company in how we provide power to customers and how we ensure reliable service in good weather and bad,” said Bill Orlove, an FPL spokesperson. “Certainly, that was an example of the bad.”
FPL has strengthened 61 main power lines in Volusia County and aims to strengthen 11 more with the ongoing investments.
According to Orlove, it took 18 days to restore power to all customers after Hurricane Wilma and only 10 days to restore power after Hurricane Irma, thanks to the grid hardening.
In addition, FPL will be clearing and maintaining trees and brush that knock down power lines when hurricane force winds are present.
“Trees were the No. 1 cause of outages during Hurricane Irma,” he said.
For their future efforts in Ormond, FPL will inspect the power poles every eight years and install new smart meters that assist in recording and communicating energy information for motoring and billing, according to FPL’s website.
FPL’s goal by 2024 is to harden or underground all of their power lines in the 35 counties they serve.
“We learn from every storm, whether it be Wilma, Irma, or storms that don’t affect our community," Orlove said. "We learn and we always try to get better because we know how important it is to get the lights back on, because customers rely on reliable service every day."