WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - According to the U.S. Census, Florida's population has grown by nearly one-million people since hurricane Wilma struck in 2005. In that same time, Florida Power and Light says its own customer base has increased by 230,000 households and crews are working right now to prepare for hurricane season.
When mother nature's at her worst, Florida Power and Light is training to be at its best. Three-thousand FPL employees are ready for this year's hurricane season.
FPL's Irene White has weathered more hurricanes than she can remember. Preparations are year-round starting with clearing some 12,000 miles of palm fronds from around power lines.
FPL headquarters in West Palm Beach is also home to one of several massive warehouses across the state, stocking thousands of critical pieces of equipment, ready to be loaded up and shipped out after a storm. If one threatens, staging crews and supplies ahead of time, is crucial.
"We don't put them where the storm's going to hit, but we move them into the peninsula so we can restore that much quicker," said White.
After the storm passes, convoys of cleanup and repair crews head in and work begins quickly and is almost non-stop.
Everything before, during, and after the storm is coordinated from the brain of FPL. Their emergency operations center, is staffed 24 hours in the event of a crisis. It cost $3.8-million to build, and it's designed specifically to withstand a category five hurricane, allowing crews to work essentially non-stop until all the repairs are complete.
Where you live can help answer the common question: how long until my power is back?
Crews start by checking the power plants. Once online, they fan out servicing critical infrastructure, like hospitals, police and fire departments. Then it's onto large, residential neighborhoods and finally, the more rural locations.
LCEC also spends much of the year preparing for hurricane season and restores power in the same manner.
If you're an LCEC customer, you can call them to report an outage at: 239-656-2300
For FPL, you can report it online by clicking on this link.
Both LCEC and FPL urge all their customers to never touch a downed power line. It may still be live. Also, be careful of power lines buried under piles of debris, after a storm.