The most reliable US electric utility? Florida’s FPL scoops award

FLP grid reliability
Florida Power & Light claims its service is 99.98% reliable in spite of the state’s extreme weather incidences such as hurricanes

In US utility news, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) last week received an award for being the most reliable electricity supplier in America.

FPL received the ReliabilityOne Award for Outstanding Reliability Performance in the Southeast region of the US, making it eligible for the national award, according to a press statement.

Selection criteria for the ‘ReliabilityOne’ National Reliability Excellence Award include leadership in outage data collection and reporting systems, processes, procedures, and controls and communication, planning, preparation, and response to major outage events.

The organisers behind the awards select recipients based primarily on system reliability statistics that measure the frequency and duration of customer outages.

Each electricity supplier then undergoes an on-site certification process, which provides an independent review and confirmation of the policies, processes and systems used to collect, analyse and report a company’s reliability results, confirmed PA Consulting Group.

Grid reliability – smart grid investment

Eric Silagy, president and chief executive officer of FPL, attributed the award to the utility investing more than US$2 billion in its electrical network following Hurricane Wilma a decade ago.

Mr Silagy said: “These investments have positioned FPL to deliver electric service that today is more than 99.98% reliable. And we are not stopping there. Our investments to modernise Florida’s electric grid will help us meet the needs of our customers, both residential and business, now and in the future.”

FPL estimates it has improved service reliability by approximately 20% in the past five years and is on track to achieve its best ever performance record in 2015.

As part of its grid modernisation programme, the electric utility has invested in smart grid technology including 4.8 million smart meters and more than 12,000 other intelligent devices.

Other measures include strengthening nearly 600 main power lines (feeders) serving key community facilities, including hospitals, police and fire stations; clearing vegetation from 120,000 miles of power lines; and inspecting 1.2 million utility poles, restoring or replacing those that no longer met FPL’s standards for strength

Florida Power & Light Company is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving approximately 4.8 million customer accounts across nearly half of the state of Florida.

The utility claims that its typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 30% lower than the latest national average and, in 2014, was the lowest in Florida among reporting utilities for the fifth year in a row.