Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) and Gulf Power Company, a division of FPL that serves customers in Northwest Florida, today received Edison Electric Institute (EEI) awards for their assistance and recovery efforts following hurricanes in 2020.
FPL received the EEI Emergency Assistance Award for the support provided following Hurricanes Isaias, Laura, Sally and Delta.
- After Isaias spared Florida a direct hit, it made landfall in the Carolinas and left a trail of destruction northward. FPL sent more than 600 employees and contractors to New Jersey in August to restore power to nearly 3,000 homes and businesses after Isaias.
- After Category 4 Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana in August, FPL sent more than 1,300 employees and contractors to assist in restoration efforts in Louisiana and Texas. FPL also sent 180 semi-tractor trailers loaded with steel poles and other critical equipment to Lake Charles, La., to help rebuild parts of the transmission grid.
- For Hurricane Sally, more than 2,400 FPL employees and contractors traveled to the Florida Panhandle to help Gulf Power get the lights back on for its customers.
- FPL sent more than 850 employees and contractors to Louisiana in October to help restore power to thousands of homes and businesses impacted by Hurricane Delta.
“Mutual assistance is a critical aspect of efficient power restoration following natural disasters,” said Manny Miranda, FPL senior vice president of power delivery. “Our crews are the best at what they do and to be recognized as such is a great honor. We appreciate the support we’re provided following hurricanes that affect FPL’s service area, so we feel it is a duty to assist others in their time of need.”
FPL also deployed more than 1,500 employees and contractors across the Southeastern U.S. to provide mutual assistance following Hurricane Zeta. Five times during the unprecedented hurricane season, FPL provided mutual assistance to other utilities directly impacted by hurricanes.
Gulf Power received the EEI Emergency Recovery Award for efforts in restoring power following Hurricane Sally in late September. Expected to make landfall in Louisiana, the Category 2 hurricane made a sudden, overnight turn to the east with the eye wall striking the Pensacola area with 105 mph winds.
Approximately 285,000 customers lost power, and between Gulf Power employees and 7,000 total outside resources, power was restored to most customers in less than five days.
Gulf Power also received the EEI Emergency Assistance Award for 2020 Mutual Assistance. The company sent storm restoration teams to assist other utilities on several occasions in 2020, including Alabama in April following severe storms and two trips to Louisiana following Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Gulf Power crews also traveled south in support of FPL when Hurricane Isaias brushed the eastern coastline of Florida, and then sent a team to New Jersey when that same hurricane hit the Northeast. Gulf Power sent a team to Alabama once restoration activities were completed locally for Hurricane Zeta, and assisted FPL again during Hurricane Eta.
“The 2020 storm season was incredibly busy, and our teams did an outstanding job, both restoring power here for our own Gulf Power customers, as well as helping other utilities,” said Mike Spoor, Gulf Power vice president of power delivery. “We had the added challenge of working storms differently due to the pandemic, but everyone was resilient and worked safely. These awards show that our Gulf Power team is trained, ready and a leader in storm restoration, and that’s why we are often called upon to help others.”
EEI is the association that represents all investor-owned electric companies. The winners of each award were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI’s virtual Winter Board and Chief Executives Meeting.
“Over the past year, many of our nation’s electric companies and their customers have endured historic storms and wildfires and other significant weather-related events,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Working around the clock to restore power safely and quickly to customers and deploying mutual assistance crews to support impacted companies are hallmarks of the electric power industry. When disasters strike, impacted and neighboring electric companies are quick to assess damage and to respond and assist with restoration.”