Business | FPL | Power Disturbances: Frequently Asked Questions
 

Power Disturbances: Frequently Asked Questions

What steps should I take if my power goes off?
What is a breaker/main line switch?

What steps should I take if my power is flickering or fluctuating?

What is a flicker?

What causes a momentary power interruption (MPI)?

What is a voltage fluctuation?

What is the difference between flickering lights and fluctuating lights?

Why am I the only business on the block without power?

Why do I only have electricity in one part of my business?

Why am I without electricity, but my neighbor across the street has power?

If my lights come on, can I expect them to stay on?

Can I pay an electrician to change my FPL service wires or cables?

Why would FPL crews pass my business without repairing anything?

How does FPL provide for people with special medical problems, such as those on life sustaining medical equipment?

How can I protect my electronic equipment from being damaged?

If my UPS (battery back-up) beeps, does that mean that I have a voltage condition?

What is the difference between power quality and service reliability?

What is a power quality disturbance?

Why is power quality so important?

Shouldn't I expect FPL to provide me with flawless power?

What steps should I take if my power goes off?

Step

Action

1

Verify if your neighboring businesses are affected.

2

If neighboring businesses are affected, contact FPL at

3

If neighbors are not affected, visit Defusing the Mystery of Breakers and Fuses for instructions on how to check your fuse or breaker box and reset your main line breaker.

Top of Page

What is a breaker/main line switch?

A protective device located on an electrical circuit to interrupt the flow of abnormally large currents. A circuit breaker is the most common means of providing overload and fault protection for customers and utilities.

Top of Page

What steps should I take if my power is flickering or fluctuating?

If you are a...

Then...

Stand-alone business

Contact FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243).

Multi-unit business

1. Verify if your neighboring businesses are affected.

2. If neighboring businesses are affected, contact FPL at

3. If they are not affected, visit Troubleshooting power problems: Defusing the mystery of breakers and fuses for instructions on how to check your fuse or breaker box and reset your main line breaker.

4. If the flicker/fluctuating still continues, you may need to contact a licensed electrician.

Top of Page

What is a flicker?

A flicker occurs when there is a momentary power interruption (also termed an MPI).

Top of Page

What causes a momentary power interruption (MPI)?

An MPI occurs when there is a short circuit in a main power line or if something comes in contact with a main power line, such as a tree or animal. The system will instantly reset itself in order to protect equipment from major damage that could cause lengthy outages, and allow for safe delivery of electricity.

Top of Page

What is a voltage fluctuation?

A voltage fluctuation occurs when there is a dip or spike in the electrical flow to your building. The state of Florida requires that utilities normally operate within a range of +/- 8 volts (112 - 128) from standard voltage (120), but FPL prefers to keep this range within +/-6 volts (114 - 126). Fluctuations of more than 6 volts may cause your lights to dim or brighten.

Top of Page

What is the difference between flickering lights and fluctuating lights?

The general rule is that flickering lights occur when the power in your business abruptly turns completely off and turns back on within several seconds. Fluctuating lights occur when the flow of electricity into your business is either too high or too low. In this case your lights would either dim or get brighter than normal.

Top of Page

Why am I the only business on the block without power?

Circuit breakers in your business could have tripped and halted power, tree limbs could have fallen on the line serving your building, fuses on the transformer that serves your business may have blown or could be damaged, and the primary line feeding the transformer could be damaged.

Top of Page

Why do I only have electricity in one part of my building?

You could have a

  • tripped circuit breaker
  • blown fuse or
  • broken connector or wire at one of the service leads to your building.

Sometimes damage to these leads leaves only the 120-volt outlets (or some of them) working. In this case, larger equipment and appliances that need 240-volt service may be inoperable until repairs are made. It is safe to use the outlets you have available, while you check with an electrician. If it's a problem with a service lead to your building, FPL crews will repair the wires when they arrive to restore service.

Top of Page

Why am I without electricity, but my neighbor across the street has power?

In many instances, a street block may separate buildings serviced by two different main power lines and possibly two different substations. If one main power line is affected, it does not necessarily mean that all main power lines are being affected.

Top of Page

If my lights come on, can I expect them to stay on?

Once service is restored, we make every effort to keep it on. However, as we repair other parts of our system, some interruptions may occur.

Top of Page

Can I pay an electrician to change my FPL service wires or cables?

No. Electricians are not allowed to work on FPL lines from the pole or transformer to your business. Your electrician handles work that needs to be done from the meter to inside the building, including your circuit breakers and business' wiring.

Top of Page

Why would FPL crews pass my house without repairing anything?

If you see an FPL crew passing but not stopping, it may be because work at a nearby location must be performed before electric service can be restored to you and your neighboring businesses.

Top of Page

How does FPL provide for people with special medical problems, such as those on life sustaining medical equipment?

Any customer who has continuously operating, electric-powered medical equipment at home that is necessary to sustain life or avoid serious medical complications may participate in FPL's Medical Essential Service Program.

Top of Page

How can I protect my electronic equipment from being damaged?

No matter where you live, power quality disturbances are unavoidable. FPL provides customers with information and resources to help understand the nature of different power problems, and offers programs and solutions to these problems.

Learn more about selecting the right power protection.

For added convenience, our sister company, FPL Energy Services, has partnered with APC (American Power Conversion) to offer products like

  • surge protectors
  • uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) and
  • line conditioners.

You can find out more about these products by

Top of Page

If my UPS (battery back-up) beeps, does that mean that I have a voltage condition?

A. Not necessarily. The voltage that flows through electrical lines will fluctuate slightly on a normal basis. The state of Florida requires that utilities operate within a range of +/- 8 volts (112 - 128) from standard voltage (120), but FPL prefers to keep this range within +/-6 volts (114 - 126).

Unfortunately, some UPS products have a threshold of 5 volts - meaning if the voltage fluctuation reaches 6 volts, the UPS will go into battery mode. To prevent this from happening, you may

  • reference your UPS owner's manual or contact the manufacturer and see if that threshold can be changed or
  • check the battery to make sure its life span is not up (they last on average for two years).

If you hear your UPS beep and you are also experiencing dimming or brightening of the lights, please

  • call FPL 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) or
  • visit Report Trouble to report the problem online.

Top of Page

What is the difference between power quality and service reliability?

The term "power quality" is used when talking about any electrical disturbance resulting in the failure or misoperation of equipment.

The term "reliability" is used when talking specifically about power outages.

Top of Page

What is a power quality disturbance?

A power quality disturbance is any change in the electricity reaching your business that interferes with normal operation of electrical equipment. Computers and sensitive electronic equipment are more susceptible to power quality disturbances.

Top of Page

Why is power quality so important?

Power quality has become an important issue in recent years due to the increase in sensitive equipment used in homes and businesses. While FPL's service quality has increased significantly over the years, the sensitivity of today's electrical and electronic equipment has increased also.

Top of Page

Shouldn't I expect FPL to provide me with flawless power?

FPL strives to provide continuous and clean power at all times. However, all electric distribution systems are subject to occasional voltage variations. These short-term disturbances can sometimes disrupt the normal operation of sensitive equipment.