On Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, Richard Murray and Lance Martina, Duke Energy Florida substation electricians, were crossing the Apalachicola Bay on the causeway to visit the St. George Island (SGI) substation for regular maintenance. As the electricians looked east, out into the bay, something did not look right. It appeared a transmission structure was disoriented and leaning over the water. The electricians immediately pulled over and reported the situation, which initiated the St. George Island pole restoration project.

SGI is located in the panhandle of Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, approximately two hours southwest of Tallahassee. It spans 28 miles (45 km), with a state park on the east end, a private gated community on the west end and a variety of vacation homes in between. The island is famous for its beaches, fishing and oysters.

One radial 69-kV transmission line feeds SGI’s 13-MVA peak load and spans the Apalachicola Bay approximately 5 miles (8 km). If any event occurs along this transmission line that causes an outage, the island is without power. Duke Energy Florida developed a contingency plan for this transmission line to enable quick mobilization if an emergency situation occurs.

Duke Energy Florida, pole restoration, line rebuild