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FPL launches high-tech Power Delivery Diagnostic Center

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

It may look a bit like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, but the new Florida Power & Light “smart grid” command center has one purpose: improving service reliability.

FPL, the state’s largest utility, unveiled its Power Delivery Diagnostic Center, designed to manage a complex electric system that serves more than 4.7 million Florida customers.

The goal of the Center, located in the FPL corporate offices in Jupiter, is to use advanced smart grid technology to provide reliable service, with features making it among the best in the nation.

“The electric grid, which was designed and built across the United States many years ago, has remained largely unchanged for decades,” said Manny Miranda, FPL vice president of power delivery, in a statement. “Through innovative solutions such as this diagnostic center, we have greater awareness of the performance of FPL’s grid, one of the most advanced systems in the nation, enabling us to improve reliability for our customers.”

The Diagnostic Center applies predictive analysis and digital microprocessor technology to provide real-time data to identify and locate potential outages, as well as reduce the length of any power disruptions.

The Center is one of the developments as part of FPL’s smart grid modernization efforts, which began in 2010 with widespread installation of smart meters, funded in part by a $200 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. In the past five years, FPL spent nearly $600 million to install more than 12,000 smart devices and thousands of sensors and monitors on transformers, breakers and battery banks.

Smart grid technology and advanced electric meters also allow customers to monitor usage on what FPL calls an “Energy Dashboard,” an online tool that breaks down consumer energy consumption by the week, day and hour.

FPL, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, with one of the lowest energy prices in the country with a typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill approximately 25 percent lower than the national average. In 2014, FPL energy costs were the lowest in Florida for the fifth year in a row, and has a service reliability record of better than 99.98 percent. FPL uses highly fuel-efficient power plants, which are among the most environmentally cleanest of all utilities nationwide.

FPL command

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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