The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) submitted a report to the governor and legislature this week, analyzing additional actions necessary to enhance the reliability of Florida's transmission and distribution facilities during extreme weather. The report recommends ongoing hardening of the utilities' electric infrastructure to better withstand the impacts of severe weather and to reduce associated power outages.

Since the destructive 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, the PSC has initiated a multifaceted approach to strengthen the state's electric infrastructure. The PSC has ordered the utilities to conduct more frequent pole inspections, increase vegetation management, and implement additional storm-hardening initiatives. The PSC has also been careful to balance the need to strengthen Florida’s electric infrastructure to minimize storm damage, reduce outages, and reduce restoration time while mitigating excessive cost increases to electric customers.

“Storm hardening is a successful part of the Commission’s ongoing initiative to further develop a culture of preparedness in Florida,” said PSC Chairman Lisa Polak Edgar. “The Commission will continue to actively monitor the progress of the state’s utilities to ensure electric reliability for all consumers.”

In addition to guiding the utilities' storm hardening activities, the PSC is promoting more collaborative research into finding specific solutions for making Florida's transmission and distribution grid more resistant to extreme weather. Specifically, one research project includes the development and testing of a methodology to identify and evaluate the costs and benefits of undergrounding specific facilities in Florida.