FPL preparing for hurricane season and urging Floridians to prepare too

The company hosted its annual storm drill on Thursday with simulated Category 4 Hurricane Flynn.
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 4:20 PM EDT
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Hurricane Ian made landfall last September and, in the process, battered southwest Florida. The cleanup continues physically and emotionally for thousands of Floridians.

“This is the nerve center of our hurricane response,” said Florida Power & Light Company spokesman Conlan Kennedy.

FPL, the nation’s largest energy utility, never takes a day off when it comes to hurricane response. The company hosted its annual storm drill on Thursday with simulated Category 4 Hurricane Flynn. The command center was activated with communication, and logistics and new tools were on display.

“This equipment really helps us get eyes on our overhead equipment much safer and faster than traditional methods," said Heath McLemore, flight operations manager for FPL. "We’re able to see what the conditions are out in the field and a lot of times before we can get crew members out there.”

FPL is preparing for an active season using lessons learned from storms like Ian and Nicole, as well as advanced technology, to enhance its response to future hurricanes.

FPL’s Drone in a Box is a new quarter-million-dollar, highly automated drone system that can pre-deploy anywhere in the state before a storm and then remotely operate in the aftermath.

A new mobile command center is taking logistics on the road. Florida is the second largest state for electric vehicle adoption. Their new EV charging trailer will take power to places when mother nature cuts it off.

“It can provide 4,000 miles of fast charging for our customers and charge six EV’s at a time,” said Mary Alice Jackson, project director for FPL Development.

Agencies from Florida Highway Patrol to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue are working under similar conditions as if a real threat were on us. It’s not just how FPL responds to scenarios but how fast—all down to calculating the estimated time of restoration, which is the holy grail around here.

“In Florida, it’s not a matter of if but when a storm will strike. Nobody in Florida can get complacent, especially because we have so many new Floridians," Kennedy said. "Floridians need to be preparing just like we're preparing here today.”

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