PENSACOLA, Fla. — Gulf Power today announced that it was recognized by PA Consulting as a recipient of the 2020 ReliabilityOne® Award for Outstanding Reliability Performance in the Southeast suburban/rural service area – recognizing the best suburban/rural service area investor-owned utilities in the United States.

“We’re continuing to step up our investments in strengthening the grid and making the grid smarter through technologies that are improving reliability for an even better customer experience,” said Marlene Santos, president of Gulf Power. “Gulf Power is honored to receive this award that recognizes the hard work of our team and, more importantly, the great strides that we have made to deliver even more reliable service to our customers.”

Gulf Power’s nearly 470,000 customers experienced the best-ever service reliability in 2019; in fact, the average amount of time that a Gulf Power customer experienced an outage was approximately 25% less than in 2018 – and the company is on track for an even better reliability performance in 2020. This improvement is thanks in part to the investments Gulf Power has made to make the energy grid stronger and smarter, leading to fewer outages that are shorter in duration.

Between 2020-22, Gulf Power is investing nearly $250 million in storm hardening and reliability improvement efforts:

  • Long-term storm hardening efforts include replacing wooden transmission structures with concrete or steel; hardening the distribution main power lines to extreme wind loading criteria; and the undergrounding of certain lines that will go beyond 2022.
  • Reliability improvements underway include the installation of 5,500 automated lateral switches and other smart devices to create additional self-healing networks, assessing the condition of power lines and other infrastructure using drones, clearing vegetation and continuing to work with sister company Florida Power & Light to implement best practices to improve the customer experience.

“This is an incredible success story as we were making a transformational change on behalf of our customers,” said Mike Spoor, vice president of power delivery for Gulf Power. “Our team has done an incredible job and we’re proud to be recognized for these efforts.”

All utilities operating less dense electric delivery networks in North America are eligible for consideration for the Outstanding Reliability Performance in a suburban and rural service area award. The selection of provisional recipients is based primarily on system reliability statistics that measure the frequency and duration of customer outages. After provisional recipients are selected, each company undergoes an on-site certification process which provides an independent review and confirmation of the policies, processes and systems used to collect, analyze and report a company’s reliability results.

“For the past 20 years, the ReliabilityOne® Awards have highlighted outstanding electric utility providers who are building a positive human future in a technology-driven world,” said Gregg Edeson, PA Consulting’s ReliabilityOne® Program Director. “We are pleased to name Gulf Power as an industry leader for delivering stellar service and restoration efforts while balancing customer needs and optimizing investments.”