As May draws to a close, Floridians are well aware that hot, humid summer weather and Hurricane Season are about to begin. Each year, Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC) makes sure that the state’s electric utilities are prepared to weather severe storms to keep communities and businesses running smoothly.
“Thankfully, it’s been several years since Florida has been severely impacted by a major storm,” said PSC Chairman Ronald A. Brisé. “We know from experience that we can’t become complacent. By annually reviewing utilities’ adherence to PSC preparedness rules, we are assured of reduced storm-related outages and quicker recovery times for families and essential services.”
In 2006, following two active hurricane seasons, the PSC directed the state’s five electric investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to increase efforts to protect delivery systems against severe storm damage and improve power restoration efforts and associated costs when widespread outages occur. The PSC’s storm hardening rules, initiated in 2006, requires IOUs to submit their preparedness plans for Commission review every three years.
In approving the IOU’s storm plans, the Commission reviews each utility’s wooden pole inspections, PSC-mandated storm preparedness initiatives (such as vegetation maintenance and critical infrastructure hardening), National Electric Safety Code compliance, flooding and storm surge mitigation, facility placement and deployment strategies, extreme wind loading standards, and costs. As a result, Florida’s electric utilities now have comprehensive, year-round storm plans as a commitment to their customers should severe weather strike.
The PSC annually reviews the state’s major electric and telephone companies’ storm hardening efforts to protect transmission and distribution facilities, including vegetation management; maintenance and repairs; and coordination with other utilities, government, and community groups. When storms do occur, we know the utilities’ preparation will minimize electrical outages and expedite response times to help communities quickly recover.