Florida Power & Light conducts annual storm drill training ahead of 2023 hurricane season

Published on April 24, 2023 by Chris Galford

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After last year’s Hurricane Ian once again demonstrated how dangerous storms can be and the need for preparation, more than 3,500 Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) employees joined its annual storm drill this year to ready themselves for hurricane season 2023.

“The 2022 hurricane season is still fresh in the memory of many Floridians, especially those who lost loved ones or who are still recovering from hurricanes Ian and Nicole,” FPL President and CEO Armando Pimentel said.

Hurricane Ian reached Category 5 status last year, killing 161 people and inflicting more than $113 billion of damage. Hurricane Nicole was the first November hurricane to hit Florida since 1985. “We learn lessons from every storm season.

“At FPL, rigorous training and cutting-edge technology help us to enhance our response each year, but no electrical system is hurricane-proof, and storms will result in power outages,” Pimentel said.

The annual drill ran weeklong, pitting workers against a mock Category 4 storm dubbed Hurricane Flynn. In training, the simulated storm made landfall in southeast Florida, after which FPL employees had to roleplay how they would respond in terms of restoration efforts, operations, logistics, communications, and customer service. New technology, including a drone-in-a-box, Florida’s first electric vehicle mobile-charging trailer, and a Mobile Command Center emergency vehicle, were deployed and demonstrated.

“The most important preparation for extreme weather is sustained, long-term investments to build a stronger and smarter energy grid, as we have seen time and again,” said Manny Miranda, executive vice president of power delivery for FPL. “We continue to train our men and women – as we’ve been doing at our storm drill this week – so that when a storm hits, we can get the lights back on faster for our customers who depend on us, and the Florida economy can return to normal operations quickly.”

On top of this immediate effort, FPL noted that since 2004-2005 it has hardened many power lines serving critical community facilities and services, installed more than 200,000 intelligent devices on the grid to detect and prevent outages and reduce restoration times, and undergrounded more than 1,200 projects-worth of neighborhood power lines through its Storm Secure Underground Program through 2022.