In a first-of-its-kind project for Gulf Power, the company is replacing overhead power lines with more reliable underground lines in the Myrtle Grove community near Pensacola as part of a pilot program.

The Storm Secure Underground Pilot Program, while new to Gulf Power, has been used by Florida Power & Light Company on more than 300 neighborhood projects in FPL’s service territory to find cost-effective ways to put lines underground to improve day-to-day reliability and speed restoration after hurricanes and extreme weather.

“This pilot is an example of the ongoing commitment by Gulf Power and FPL to build a stronger, smarter, more storm-resilient energy grid,” said Gulf Power Vice President Mike Spoor. “We’re leveraging the experience FPL has already gained from its undergrounding projects to provide even better service to our customers in Northwest Florida.”

Trees and vegetation blowing into overhead power lines are a leading cause of outages, particularly during severe weather. Putting power lines underground improves reliability during good weather and bad.

The project in Myrtle Grove will convert about 135 homes from overhead service to underground.

“We are really excited to have this opportunity to have the power lines buried underground,” said Roxanne Baker, a longtime resident of the neighborhood. “It’s going to be an opportunity for us to maybe not to lose as much power because of trees and debris falling on lines and knocking our power out.”