Florida Power and Light preparing for future storms

You may have noticed work crews out along Panama City Beach Parkway. That's because Florida Power and Light is preparing for when another hurricane hits.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:45 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Our community knows all too well how hard it is to get power back after a major hurricane.

Florida Power and Light crews are prioritizing and preparing for future storms.

“During severe weather of course with debris and vegetation getting into the power lines and power poles wooden poles may not stand up well,” said Shawn Johnson, FPL spokesperson.

On Panama City Beach Parkway Florida Power and Light crews are taking down these wooden poles and replacing them with concrete or metal ones, they say these are built to withstand category 5 hurricanes, and being so close to the water these are much-needed.

Shawn Johnson with FPL says they are focusing on the main power lines.

“Prioritizing the ones that feed critical infrastructure thinking through,” said Jonhson. “911 call centers, hospitals, even water treatment plants like this one right here.”

We’re told these new poles will provide better efficiency during power outages.

“That gives us the opportunity to get those critical facilities online that much quicker during severe weather,” said Johnson.

So far, 9,000 poles have been hardened throughout the region.

“Day-to-day reliability and during storms situations as well, this section here was about 50 poles,” said Johnson. “These improvements are going to make a significant difference if this area or [the] entire service area was to see an impact like Michael.”

They also say drones play a huge part in storm recovery.

“As we approach hurricane Michael the 5-year anniversary of that, this same technology would be so helpful if another storm was to threaten this area giving us visibility into maybe your street is flooded but we can at least get to your neighborhood and identify what the area of concern before our crews will be able to get out there,” said Johnson.

Having that information makes it easier for crews to know where they are needed so they can quickly restore the power.

We are told they will continue making improvements. They are aiming to finish all power pole replacements in Northwest Florida in 2030 or 2031.