Dark Days, Brighter Horizons: 1930-1944
Depression years | Brighter years | Historical quote | War years | FPL awarded citation
The hurricanes in the 1920s, combined with the stock market crash, sent both Florida and FPL reeling through the Depression years. The challenges included:
- Mounting unpaid bills, though the minimum monthly electric bill was $1
- people attempting to steal electricity
- turning FPL offices into showrooms for selling appliances
- laying off workers and cutting the pay of those who stayed and
- in 1933, telling FPL shareholders there would be no dividends.
By 1939, however, Florida's economic skies were brightening. FPL
- served more than 141,000 customer accounts with electricity
- served more than 18,700 customer accounts with gas and
- doubled its original generating capacity to 155 megawatts.
"I'll never forget the day the manager told us all of the hotels had been taken over by the Army. And very soon before dawn, we heard men marching in the streets. Once I had to ask soldiers to move a pup tent out of my driveway so I could get to work."
Quote: Secretary in the FPL Miami Beach Office, 1940.
Then came 1941 and war. FPL met the challenge and
- published ads calling for conservation
- trained women to do the work of over ¼ of the employees who had been called to war
- expanded the work week to Saturdays to meet the demands of powering large military institutions and defense industries in its territory and
- worked with adjoining utility companies in a spirit of unity to interconnect power lines and systems for wartime emergencies.
FPL awarded citation
FPL's response to the war years did not go unnoticed. On Feb. 1, 1944, Admiral W. R. Munroe, commandant of the Seventh Naval District, presented FPL with a Citation for Meritorious Wartime Service. He was quoted: "When we asked for power, we got power; and not, thank God, alibis!"