August 29, 2006
FPL continues to prepare for Ernesto and urges customers to be safe

JUNO BEACH, Fla. – While Tropical Storm Ernesto moves over the Florida Strait, Florida Power & Light Company continues to urge customers to use this time to get ready for what forecasters say could be a South Florida landfall later tonight. 

FPL is continuing its own preparations for Ernesto’s landfall in South Florida. As National Hurricane Center forecasters work to plot Ernesto’s path and intensity, FPL is placing people and resources into position to be able to respond to whatever damage to the electrical infrastructure might happen as a result of the storm.

“We continue to monitor this storm and the associated meteorology very carefully,” said Geisha Williams, vice president of electrical distribution and the executive in charge of post-storm restoration. “We have a well-tested restoration plan, and it’s one that we can scale up or down as conditions warrant. Whatever Ernesto may decide to bring our way, we’re ready.”

“We are going to work hard to make sure that any inconvenience to our customers is as short-lived as possible,” said Williams. “We are encouraged that Ernesto has weakened, but we continue to urge our customers to prepare and to remain safe.”

Some tips to consider before and after the storm:

FPL urges customers to take steps now to be safe and protect their families before, during and after the storm. Ernesto may bring heavy rains, and its winds may cause flying debris to impact electrical infrastructure. 

  • Stay far away from downed power lines, flooding and debris. 
  • Don’t walk in standing water, and don’t venture out in the dark because you might not see a power line that could still be energized and dangerous. Safety should be everyone’s main goal.
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, run it outside and connect appliances directly using extension cords if necessary.
  • Do not wire your generator directly to your breaker or fuse box, because the electricity you generate may flow back into power lines and cause injuries.

Customers are our number one priority after a storm. We use a well-tested plan to restore service. Here’s how we work:

  • First, we assess the overall system and repair FPL power plants and the major lines that carry power from plants to towns and communities.
  • In partnership with our local communities, we restore service to customers who provide critical infrastructure for community health, safety and public welfare needs. These include hospitals, police, fire, communications and water, sanitary and transportation providers.
  • Concurrently while working on critical infrastructure, our restoration process focuses on making repairs to electrical facilities that will return power to the largest number of people first, then the next largest number, and so on, until power is returned to everyone.
  • Work is not assigned according to when you called to report your outage, where you live or the status of your account. Work will begin in multiple locations wherever we have damage and customers are out of service.

“We know how inconvenient it is to be without electricity, and we are doing everything humanly possible to see to it that, once this storm passes, electric service will be restored quickly and safely,” Williams said.

FPL employees are mobilized and ready to respond to Ernesto. Crews will be able to work as long as winds are below 35 miles per hour.  The company has contacted other utilities and contractors who are prepared and ready to respond alongside FPL employees if needed.