BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Florida Power & Light is continuing a program to build a network of underground power lines to keep the lights on when bad weather bears down.
What You Need To Know
- Florida Power & Light installing power lines underground
- Part of a pilot program launched two years ago
- Goal is to keep the power on when severe weather hits
It was loud Tuesday outside Maria Garcia's Palm Bay home. But she's just fine with it.
That's because she doesn't want another situation like what happened back in 2017 when Hurricane Irma came roaring through.
"We had a transformer explode and we had five days without power," Garcia said.
Which is why Florida Power & Light workers are here in her Palm Bay neighborhood.
It's an innovative 'boring' process, part of the Storm Secure Underground Pilot Program launched two years ago to replace overhead power lines in areas hit by strong storms.
"We're identifying overhead power lines that have had problems with outages, or during hurricanes or vegetation in the past, and we are converting them to underground lines," said Mike Fetto of Florida Power & Light.
"During Hurricane Irma it was the No. 1 cause of outages that we had three years ago," Florida Power & Light's George Bennett added.
Officials said underground power lines performed 83% better than traditional ones in that storm event. The drilling method doesn't tear up properties and requires customers' permission to begin.
"Allows us to drill one hole at one end of the street, go roughly 400 feet, and come up to the next hole," Fetto said.
This section is the first area being converted in Brevard County and will serve 25 households.
So far FPL has completed more than 160 of the projects with more than 100 under construction just like Garcia's.
"It's going to be wonderful, we don't have to worry anymore," Garcia said.
Florida Power & Light began making their systems more storm resilient following Hurricane Wilma back 2005.
The storm was the most intense ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, causing more than $22 billion in damage and killing 87.