JUNO BEACH, Fla. – In a filing with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today, Florida Power & Light Company reported delivering another year of outstanding reliability for customers in 2009 and outlined plans for continued investment in reliability and storm preparedness in 2010.
FPL’s overall reliability last year continued to rank among the best in the nation as the company made significant progress on long-term efforts to strengthen the infrastructure. This year, FPL continues to focus on improving reliability and storm preparedness throughout the distribution and transmission systems that serve millions of Floridians.
“FPL customers are benefiting from industry-leading reliability and storm preparedness while paying the lowest typical bills of the state’s 55 electric utilities. We invest millions of dollars every year to help prevent outages and prepare for storm season. No system can be 100 percent storm-proof, but when outages occur, our employees respond quickly. I’m proud of their performance, in both good weather and bad, and their continuing commitment to delivering exceptional service to our 4.5 million customers,” said FPL President and CEO Armando J. Olivera.
As measured by the industry standard, FPL customers on average experienced 82.4 minutes without power over the year, which is 46 percent better than the 2008 national average, the most recent data available. The average annual number of outages that FPL customers experienced improved to 1.40 in 2009 while the company’s average restoration time of 59 minutes per outage outperformed all major utilities’ 2008 performance nationwide.
One of the most frequent causes of distribution outages is vegetation – tree branches, palm fronds or other plants coming into contact with power lines. To help reduce and prevent outages and flickers, FPL cleared vegetation from more than 12,000 miles of distribution power lines and all transmission corridors last year. Overall, FPL invested more than $100 million in distribution reliability programs, including vegetation management, priority feeders and overhead line inspections, to keep reliability high for customers in 2009.
In 2010, FPL plans to clear vegetation along approximately 13,000 miles of distribution power lines and to maintain a similar level of funding for distribution reliability programs as in 2009.
Storm Preparedness and Infrastructure Strengthening Initiatives
FPL’s comprehensive storm plan focuses on readiness, restoration and recovery in order to respond safely and as quickly as possible in the event the electrical infrastructure is damaged by a storm. While the storm strengthening initiatives that FPL implements are designed to mitigate the impact of hurricane or tropical storm conditions, everyday wind, rain and lightning are among the most frequent causes of outages, particularly in Florida, so these improvements can also contribute to better everyday reliability for customers as well.
FPL remains ahead of its long-term inspection schedules for the system’s more than 1 million distribution poles and 65,000 transmission structures. Since 2006, the company has inspected nearly half a million poles throughout the distribution system, reinforcing and replacing them as necessary. Also, to strengthen the transmission system, FPL has replaced thousands of wood structures with stronger materials and converted nearly half of the system’s ceramic post insulators to more durable polymer insulators on transmission lines over the past four years. Today, the backbone of FPL’s transmission system is more than 70 percent concrete and steel.
In 2009, FPL invested $53 million to execute storm preparedness efforts, which included inspecting approximately 139,000 distribution poles; performing climbing inspections on 16,500 transmission structures; upgrading 3,200 transmission structures from wood to concrete or steel; and replacing more than 1,000 ceramic post insulators with polymer post insulators. In 2010, FPL plans to inspect at least another one-eighth of its distribution poles and one-sixth of its transmission structures. The projected cost of inspections and associated follow-up work this year is estimated at $68 million to $78 million.
In addition to preventive maintenance and storm preparedness initiatives, FPL invested more than $80 million in 2009 to strengthen the infrastructure serving 18 acute care facilities, 24 hospitals, 29 911 facilities, 27 highway crossings and more than 100 other important facilities throughout the company’s 35-county service territory.
FPL is prepared for this year’s storm season, the company noted in today’s PSC filing. Prior to the season’s peak, FPL will continue conducting storm-strengthening and storm-preparedness initiatives. The efforts include vegetation clearing from power lines serving all top critical infrastructure facilities, extensive storm-restoration training for employees, the annual company-wide hurricane dry-run exercise and the continued focus on improving outage communications, along with timely estimated restoration times for customers.
At the end of 2009, FPL had completed strengthening the infrastructure that serves approximately 75 percent of all hospitals, acute care facilities, 911 centers and emergency operations centers; and by the end of this month, FPL will have completed strengthening the infrastructure that serves every major hospital and acute care facility in its service territory. In 2010, FPL plans to invest another $45 million to $55 million to continue hardening areas of the system serving key facilities such as these. The company is currently finalizing its 2010-2012 storm strengthening outlook, which is due to be filed with the PSC by early May.
Additionally, in the coming years, FPL’s Energy Smart Florida project will further improve the grid that serves millions of Floridians, incorporating high-tech intelligence to make the infrastructure smarter and more efficient. Technology such as advanced “smart” meters will benefit customers during storms and year-round by helping FPL detect and address problems more quickly.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States. FPL serves approximately 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and is a leading employer in the state with 10,500 employees. The company consistently outperforms national averages for service reliability while customer bills are below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and the No. 1 energy efficiency program among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE: FPL). For more information, visit www.FPL.com.
FPL Group and FPL: Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements typically express or involve discussion as to expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance, climate change strategy or growth strategies and often, but not always, can be identified by the use of words such as “will,” “expect,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” and similar terms. Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical facts and involve estimates, assumptions and uncertainties.
Although FPL Group, Inc. (FPL Group) and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) believe that their expectations are reasonable, because forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, the companies can give no assurance that the forward-looking statements contained in this press release will prove to be correct. Important factors could cause FPL Group’s and FPL’s actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements in this press release. Factors that could have a significant impact on FPL Group’s operations and financial results, and could cause FPL Group’s and FPL’s actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include, among others:
• FPL Group and FPL are subject to complex laws and regulations and to changes in laws and regulations as well as changing governmental policies and regulatory actions. FPL holds franchise agreements with local municipalities and counties, and must renegotiate expiring agreements. These factors may have a negative impact on the business and results of operations of FPL Group and FPL.
• The operation and maintenance of power generation, transmission and distribution facilities involve significant risks that could adversely affect the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL.
• The operation and maintenance of nuclear facilities involves inherent risks, including environmental, health, regulatory, terrorism and financial risks, that could result in fines or the closure of nuclear units owned by FPL or NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, an FPL Group subsidiary, and which may present potential exposures in excess of insurance coverage.
• The construction of, and capital improvements to, power generation and transmission facilities involve substantial risks. Should construction or capital improvement efforts be unsuccessful or delayed, the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL could be adversely affected.
• The use of derivative contracts by FPL Group and FPL in the normal course of business could result in financial losses or the payment of margin cash collateral that adversely impact the results of operations or cash flows of FPL Group and FPL.
• FPL Group’s competitive energy business is subject to risks, many of which are beyond the control of FPL Group, including, but not limited to, the efficient development and operation of generating assets, the successful and timely completion of project restructuring activities, the price and supply of fuel and equipment, transmission constraints, competition from other generators, including those using new sources of generation, excess generation capacity and demand for power, that may reduce the revenues and adversely impact the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group.
• FPL Group’s ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions is subject to significant risks, including, but not limited to, the effect of increased competition for acquisitions resulting from the consolidation of the power industry.
• FPL Group and FPL participate in markets that are often subject to uncertain economic conditions, which makes it difficult to estimate growth, future income and expenditures.
• Customer growth and customer usage in FPL’s service area affect FPL Group’s and FPL’s results of operations.
• Weather affects FPL Group’s and FPL’s results of operations, as can the impact of severe weather. Weather conditions directly influence the demand for electricity and natural gas, affect the price of energy commodities, and can affect the production of electricity at power generating facilities.
• Adverse capital and credit market conditions may adversely affect FPL Group’s and FPL’s ability to meet liquidity needs, access capital and operate and grow their businesses, and increase the cost of capital. Disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the financial markets can also adversely impact the results of operations and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL, as well as exert downward pressure on the market price of FPL Group’s common stock.
• FPL Group’s, FPL Group Capital’s and FPL’s inability to maintain their current credit ratings may adversely affect FPL Group’s and FPL’s liquidity, limit the ability of FPL Group and FPL to grow their businesses, and would likely increase interest costs.
• FPL Group and FPL are subject to credit and performance risk from third parties under supply and service contracts.
• FPL Group and FPL are subject to costs and other potentially adverse effects of legal and regulatory proceedings, as well as regulatory compliance and changes in or additions to applicable tax laws, rates or policies, rates of inflation, accounting standards, securities laws, corporate governance requirements and labor and employment laws.
• Threats of terrorism and catastrophic events that could result from terrorism, cyber attacks, or individuals and/or groups attempting to disrupt FPL Group’s and FPL’s business may impact the operations of FPL Group and FPL in unpredictable ways.
• The ability of FPL Group and FPL to obtain insurance and the terms of any available insurance coverage could be adversely affected by international, national, state or local events and company-specific events.
• FPL Group and FPL are subject to employee workforce factors that could adversely affect the businesses and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL.
These foregoing factors should be considered in connection with information regarding risks and uncertainties that may affect FPL Group’s or FPL’s future results included in FPL Group’s and FPL’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which may be found at www.sec.gov or at www.fplgroup.com.
Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and FPL Group and FPL undertake no obligation to update or review any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances, including unanticipated events, after the date on which such statement is made, unless otherwise required by law. New factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of facts, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.