Watt's Happening

It powers your business, but how does it work? In this month’s issue of Watt’s Happening, we explore the science behind energy.

October is National Energy Awareness Month, and we’re pleased to share with all of our business customers that our “Ask the Expert”  blog is now “Watt’s Happening?” While our name has changed, we will still provide you with key data you need to understand how your business uses energy and how to keep your bill low all year long. I’m Eric Schwartz, a member of the Watt’s Team, and I’ve been with FPL for nearly a decade. As the person responsible for forecasting, piloting and implementing cutting-edge technology at the company, I’ll be sharing lots of tech-based tips and information. This month, I’ll explain how energy gets from FPL’s clean energy center to your place of business, and how you can use that knowledge to help your business save money and lower your carbon footprint.

The flow of electricity

Each day, FPL supplies reliable energy to over 570,000 businesses. How does it get to your business, though? It all starts at the power plant, where fuel in the form of natural gas, nuclear, oil or even solar are converted to energy. This energy turns a turbine, which then spins a generator motor to produce electricity. This high-voltage electricity travels on a transmission line from the power plant to a substation, where it is reduced to a lower voltage that can then be distributed along main power lines, called feeders, from the substation to a regional service area. These are the lines you see along major roads — not in neighborhoods.

These main lines split into neighborhood power lines, smaller wires carrying electricity to local neighborhoods, which can be overhead or underground. Neighborhood lines lead to transformers that convert the electricity to a reduced voltage for your use. Service lines, which also can connect overhead or underground, go directly to your place of business.

What that means for businesses

According to ENERGY STAR, small businesses across the U.S. spend more than $60 billion a year on energy. With strategic investments and simple changes, however, you can cut energy costs by 10 to 30%, saving money and creating a cleaner environment. As an added bonus, studies have shown consumers are very interested in putting their dollars toward sustainable and green companies and products.

Now that you know the sequence of events that brings power from the clean energy center to your place of work, you may be asking yourself how to translate that knowledge into savings for your bottom line. While the process is complex, the ways to save on your energy bill are simple.  

For example, you know energy is delivered consistently whether your equipment is on or off, so one way to save money would be to unplug anything not in use, such as computers or appliances, rather than simply turning them off. Leaving appliances plugged in when turned off or even in sleep mode uses “phantom power” that can add to your bill in the long run. An easy fix for this is to plug multiple items into power strips, which stop drawing power when switched off, avoiding this issue. You may want to consider smart power strips, which can detect when devices enter sleep mode or are turned off and switch off automatically.

While some tips apply across the board, we understand every business in unique. That’s why I encourage you to use FPL’s free Business Energy Manager to not only track your energy usage but also receive customized tips on how you can continue to cut down and save on your energy bill.

For more expert info on how your business can save energy all year long, be sure to follow along as Watt’s Happening? continues to share insights.