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Power outages from Hurricane Irma lead to changes at FPL

Posted at 1:32 PM, May 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-28 13:32:22-04

If you lost power after Hurricane Irma last year, you're probably more prepared to deal with an outage now. FPL tells Fox 4 that more than 4 million customers lost power after Irma.  But they hope technological changes they've made this year will help customers recover after a storm.

Power outages after a powerful storm are inevitable.  But now FPL says it's getting faster at getting power restored to you.

"During Hurricane Irma we were able to restore power 8 days faster than during Wilma," says spokesperson Marie Bertot.

They accomplish that by staying ahead of any approaching storm.  "We have agreements with other utilities within Florida, as well as throughout the United States, so that we can get as many restoration workers here as possible."

And they’re learning lessons from last year.  "Our new mobile app wasn't ready to take the millions of hits that it received," says Bertot.  "We made improvements this year so the app can take millions of views and respond well."

She says FPL has invested $3 billion since Wilma into building a stronger power grid.  "We've changed pools, strengthened them to be more resistant against storms. We've improved our substation with flood monitoring equipment."

And Bertot says it's paying off.  "It translates to faster restoration times for our customers."

But that doesn't mean the lights will always come on right away.  Bertot says the focus at first is restoring power to their power plants and substations, then critical infrastructure such as hospitals, police and fire stations.

"We also have the strategy of restoring the greatest amount of people in the shortest amount of time. Then we go to the more rural areas."

Burton tells Fox 4 that fallen trees and debris on power lines was the leading cause of outages last year. She recommends people trim their trees away from power lines and remember you always want to stay away from downed power lines. 

If you spot downed lines, call 911.

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