Florida Power & Light Co. has announced that representatives from approximately 30 municipalities located throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties attended the company's first-ever vegetation and power line safety expo. The event, which occurred in Deerfield Beach, included a demonstration of the impact of 7200 V of electricity – the equivalent of 600 times the voltage in a typical car battery – to illustrate the importance of planting trees far away from power lines.

"At FPL, there is absolutely nothing more important than safety, and in particular, the safety of our customers," said Manny Miranda, vice president of power delivery for FPL. "We want our customers to understand that they play a meaningful role in helping to prevent injuries and improve electric service reliability. The first step in creating that understanding is awareness, particularly as it relates to planting trees as far away from power lines as possible."

During the safety expo held at Quiet Waters Park, attendees witnessed tree limbs, metal materials and rubber gloves coming into contact with 7,200 volts of electricity; observed proper landscaping that can enhance electric reliability particularly around trees growing near power lines, which is a leading cause of power outages and flickers; and received free power line safety information that can be shared with their constituents.

"Trees that grow too close to power lines are a leading cause of electricity outages and can create unsafe situations for our customers and crews," said Miranda. "Since 2006, FPL has cleared vegetation from more than 100,000 miles of power lines throughout our 35-county service area. While we've made tremendous progress in this area, we must continue to educate all of our stakeholders about the need for safety when it comes to trees and our electric system."

FPL reminds its customers to follow these tips when working outdoors:

  • Keep tools and equipment more than 10 feet away from neighborhood overhead power lines and at least 35 feet from larger high-voltage overhead lines;
  • Always hire qualified professionals to trim trees near overhead power lines;
  • Call 911 and 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) immediately if an overhead power line is down or looks hazardous;
  • Call 811 at least two full business days before beginning any project that requires digging, including planting trees, to have underground utility lines marked;
  • Plant trees so their canopies at maturity are at least 10 feet from overhead power lines; and
  • Professionally remove trees that may become a problem.