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11/14/2013 Contact: 850-413-6482

PSC Approves Florida Electric Utility Storm Hardening Plans

TALLAHASSEE — This year’s hurricane season is just about over, but the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) is ensuring that the state’s five investor-owned electric utilities (IOUs) are always prepared for severe weather. Today, the PSC approved Storm Hardening plans for Florida’s IOUs to protect consumers against widespread storm outages.

“We cannot become complacent due to several mild storm seasons,” said PSC Chairman Ronald A. Brisé.  “By requiring utilities to update storm hardening plans every three years, the PSC is reducing restoration costs and outages to help families, businesses, and communities quickly recover from storm impacts.”

The utilities’ plans, effective through 2015, include ongoing storm preparedness initiatives and ways to make their systems more resilient to extreme weather by hardening their infrastructure.   After a series of hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 left millions of Floridians without power, the PSC required IOUs to increase efforts to protect delivery systems and improve power restoration during widespread outages.

At the PSC’s annual Hurricane Preparedness Briefing in May, the IOUs detailed transmission structure hardening plans, utility coordination with local governments, and natural disaster preparedness and recovery programs.  Plans also include updates to the utilities’ wooden pole inspection program, National Electric Safety Code compliance, mitigation of flooding and storm surge damage, deployment strategies, as well as other storm hardening measures.

Plans approved today were submitted by Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy Florida, Inc., Tampa Electric Company, Gulf Power Company, and Florida Public Utilities Company.

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