This is a “first-of-its-kind” hurricane season. FPL is ready. Are you?
Don’t kid yourself. There’s never been a hurricane season like this.
Growing up in Miami-Dade, hurricanes are in my blood. As a kid, I spent countless summers duct-taping a giant X on our jalousie windows. Remember when we thought that was a good idea? Now, thanks to YouTube, I’ve mastered the art of installing shutters. I am just one Costco trip away from being able to comfortably survive whatever Mother Nature throws my way.
Wrong. The 2020 hurricane season is like no other. Thank you COVID-19. I guarantee that Dolly, Edouard, Fay and Gonzalo, and the other 18 or so named storms predicted this highly active season, don’t care about social distancing amid a global pandemic. In the words of FPL’s CEO Eric Silagy “we are all entering uncharted water.”
I caught up with FPL’s big boss on Friday when he gave a briefing on hurricane preparedness and how FPL uses technology to restore power. Also in attendance were the U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
Without a doubt, FPL is ready to respond to a storm. They are the best in the industry. Their technology is impressive. Drones, artificial intelligence, robots and tens of thousands of intelligent devices along the grid, combined with more undergrounding of power lines, translate into shorter power outages. In some cases, FPL’s know-how can prevent the lights from going out altogether. That’s really good news, especially in the time of COVID-19.
The global pandemic has changed how we work and live. FPL is no exception. Silagy talked about new measures to ensure that line crews and the public remain safe during a storm restoration. Every member of the FPL team will undergo daily health screenings and temperature checks. FPL’s crucial staging sites – the mini cities with lodging, food, showers and laundry for out-of-state crews who help restore power – will be altered to account for social distancing. Depending on COVID-related travel restrictions, FPL could be hard pressed to assemble the thousands of workers from other parts of the country that the utility relies on to help them rebuild after a devastating storm.
Silagy reminded us that with the potential for a smaller workforce and pandemic safety precautions in place, it could take more time to restore power after a hurricane. I appreciate his candor and commitment to keeping everyone safe. How FPL responds to a storm restoration will change, but their dedication to our community remains strong.
Now, it’s our turn.
We’ve all seen the difference being prepared can make in curbing the impact of a global pandemic. A hurricane is no different. Don’t wait until the storm is on our doorstep. We owe it to each other to be ready now.