August 28, 2006
FPL prepares for Ernesto; Expects tropical storm to intensify again to a hurricane

JUNO BEACH, Fla. –  As Tropical Storm Ernesto continues to move across Cuba in a path toward Florida, Florida Power & Light Company is making final preparations to implement its proven plan of action to restore power as quickly and safely as possible after the storm passes and is urging its customers that may be in the path of the storm to be safe and to prepare and review their personal and business plans.  The storm is expected to intensify again to a hurricane after crossing Cuba and reaching the Florida Strait.  Though its ultimate strength and precise path are both uncertain at this time, FPL’s plan is flexible and the company is prepared to adapt to any change in circumstances.   

Stay safe by taking special precautions
All indications are that Ernesto will impact some of FPL’s heavily populated urban areas affecting a large portion of FPL’s infrastructure.  As with other recent hurricanes, FPL is asking its customers to be prepared.  Hurricanes are dangerous storms that will have an impact on the electrical infrastructure.  FPL reminds its customers that now is the time to review family and business emergency plans, keep a close watch on the development of the storm and follow the advice and guidelines of local government. Customers can visit www.FPL.com for more information regarding hurricane tips including generator safety, precautions regarding downed power lines, flooding, protecting electric equipment and much more.  Above all, FPL urges its customers to keep their families safe.

FPL continuing preparations
Since this past weekend and continuing today, FPL personnel have been busy contacting suppliers, arranging for external crews from its utility and contractor partners ready to respond and reaching out to emergency management officials to review emergency plans that affect local communities.  In addition, FPL employees are making their own family preparations before reporting to their storm assignments.

Restoration plan
After a storm passes, FPL’s restoration plan calls for restoring power to the greatest number of customers as quickly and safely as possible concurrent with the restoration of a community’s critical infrastructure. The speed of restoration is based on the path of the storm, its intensity and the amount of resources available.  FPL works with emergency operations officials to first restore power to the public health and safety critical infrastructure - such as hospitals, police, fire, communications, water, sanitary services and transportation.

As with every tropical storm, the company expects bands of wind and rain to impact its service territory in advance of the storm’s arrival.  In these cases, FPL crews will be out in the field restoring service as long as it is safe to do so.  When sustained wind speeds reach 35 mph or greater, however, FPL will take its crews out of harm’s way until it is safe to return. 

FPL emergency plan

FPL's emergency plan works as follows:

  • 72 hours before storm landfall - FPL activates its command center and the storm organization gets alerted.  The logistics team initiates its plans by increasing inventory levels and alerting vendors and suppliers.  At this point, staging sites are pre-identified, and state and county emergency centers are contacted as well as external utilities/contractors.
  • 48 hours before storm landfall - FPL’s computer models predict system damage, an initial restoration plan is developed and resource requirements are forecasted. Commitment from personnel, materials and logistics is sought for support. Also, employees continue to prepare their families and homes and travel teams are identified.
  • 24 hours before storm landfall - A pre-check of equipment, facilities and systems is conducted.  External personnel are pre-staged out of harm’s way, mobile inventory and rapid trailers are readied and messages delivered by FPL’s spokespeople are given to the media.

How FPL’s storm structure works

  • Storm Command Center - From this location, FPL manages the restoration efforts throughout its 35-county service area, working through various FPL service centers and a number of staging sites. It’s like the brain center where the restoration and logistics planning takes place, instructing staging sites and service centers on how to go about restoring power back to the communities.
  • Staging Sites - These working sites are in addition to FPL’s service centers and house the thousands of restoration crews and support personnel who are executing the restoration plan. These sites are pre-selected before the storm season and arrangements are made beforehand for technology hookups.
  • Service Centers - FPL uses its own facilities to house hundreds of workers.  Due to the relatively small size of the centers, many years ago FPL started utilizing staging sites, housing a bigger number of workers.