FPL hopes new concrete power pole improves storm resilience in St. Augustine

Hurricane Matthew residents are getting protection from power outtages

ST AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Crews with Florida Power & Light installed a new concrete power pole in St. Augustine Thursday as part of an ongoing effort to make the energy grid more reliable and storm resilient.

“It’s just part of our plan to install a smarter, stronger, more storm-resilient grid for here in St. Augustine,” Ralph Grant, area manager of operations for FPL, said.

“In the case the wire does go down it makes it a lot faster to pick back up.”

The new pole on Ravenswood Drive towers 55 feet high and weighs 9,000 pounds. It’s designed to withstand 130 mph winds.

FPL says they have invested more than $2.7 billion since 2006 to strengthen the energy grid. They say those efforts paid off during Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, when 148,000 outages were avoided.

Grant said money for the projects comes storm recovery and natural rate base, meaning a portion of customers’ bills goes toward the improvements.

“It’s important for the community after a storm to be able to come back up quickly and that’s what this project is about,” Grant said.

Judy Capo lives across the street from the new power pole and is excited to see it installed. “You lose everything in your freezers, your refrigerators,” Capo said of losing power during a storm. “I have a well so you can’t even flush a toilet or take a shower.”

Beyond food and cleanliness, Capo said she feels safer knowing action is being taken to prevent future power loss. “It’s not fun living in the dark. I was scared, the alarm system doesn’t work, it’s a scary situation,” Capo said.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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