FPL improves Punta Gorda power utilities for hurricane season

Florida Power & Light is strengthening power lines in Punta Gorda Monday to improve the odds these utilities can withstand hurricane-force winds.

“I will never forget Charley,” neighbor Maureen Larkin said.

Larkin lived in Punta Gorda when Hurricane Charley hit almost 15 years ago. She calls herself lucky even though she had to live without power for two weeks after the storm.

“Florida Power & Light worked constantly for weeks trying to restore the electricity,” Larkin said.

To make sure people don’t end up in a situation like Larkin and many others who have experienced storms on our coast, FPL’s efforts will also ensure power poles in Punta Gorda perform 40% better than non-hardened ones.

“When they started, I think they should’ve put all of the lines underground not overhead,” neighbor Kenneth Sheeran said.

FPL plans to strengthen all its main power lines or place them underground over the next five years to reduce outages statewide. The power company said the entire project will cost $4 billion, which is already included in customer rates.

“I think that’s a great idea, especially since we’ve been paying for it on our bills,” Larkin said.

Neighbors can expect to see workers in Punta Gorda through October. The project could be delayed if there are weather issues along the way. Workers will be on site in Punta Gorda Isles making improvements, today. And FPL said it’s doing work in the coming months to reduce the number of outages across Charlotte County.

Larkin looks forward to the positive outcome this project will have for her neighbors.

“I want them to be secure and happy during storms too,” Larkin said.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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