In a filing with the Florida Public Service Commission, Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) reported delivering another year of outstanding reliability for customers in 2010 and outlined plans for continued investment in reliability and storm preparedness in 2011.
FPL's reliability continues to rank among the best in the nation as the company progresses on its long-term efforts to strengthen the infrastructure. This year, FPL will continue to focus on improving service reliability and storm preparedness throughout the T&D systems that serve over 4.5 million customers.
As measured by the industry standard and according to the most recent data available, FPL customers, on average, experienced 81.3 minutes without power during 2010, which is 32% better than the 2009 national average. The average annual number of interruptions that FPL customers experienced improved to 1.21 in 2010 while the company's average restoration time of 67.4 minutes per outage ranks second among major utilities' 2009 performance nationwide.
One of the most frequent causes of distribution outages is vegetation — tree branches, palm fronds or other plants coming into contact with power lines. To help reduce and prevent power outages and flickers for its customers, FPL cleared vegetation from more than 13,000 miles (20,921 km) of distribution power lines and all transmission corridors last year. Florida is also the lightning capital of the U.S., and lightning can cause power outages and flickers, which is why FPL Lightning Lab engineers are constantly testing equipment and researching ways to reduce its impact on the grid. Overall in 2010, FPL invested more than $100 million in distribution reliability programs, including vegetation management, priority feeders and overhead line inspections, to keep reliability high for customers. In 2011, FPL plans to clear vegetation along more than 12,000 miles (19,312 km) of distribution power lines and to maintain a similar level of funding for reliability programs as in 2010.