Monday, September 21, 2015

Finally, FPL Fixing Unreliable Power in St. Augustine and St. Johns County -- What does FPL want, a medal? (Or tax deductions by the end of 2015!?).

I saw a Florida Power & Light (FPL) white pickup truck at 10:09 AM.  The driver poured a liquid on the ground, looked around, looked lost, so I said, "May I help you?"
"HUH!?" he replied, uglily, in full-on South Florida rudeness, racing off in a huff, in probable violation of the posted speed limit (20 MPH), all macho crotcho and wacko.
Typical monopolist employee.
Boy, was I impressed.
FPL has been our household power supplier since November 5, 1995.
First in South Florida, then since November 5, 1999, here in St. Augustine.
Nearly 20 years.
FPL is a badly mismanaged, anti-consumer, poorly-regulated, evil, horrible company that St. Augustine could have replaced in 2009 with a city-owned public power system.
That might have happened, if City Manager WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS and his henchman, JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E., had not deprived our City residents of their honest services, failing to give Commissioners advice on their options, "negotiating" a 30-year franchisee agreement over two years (lots of lunches for fattening corpulent City managers ). What did we get: only a fungible franchise agreement under which the City has NEVER never never audited FPL's franchisee fees.
So, South Florida FPL crews are here, racing around, installing capital equipment before the end of December, in search of tax deductions.
These are devices that should have been installed years ago, in response to some 32 faxes I sent to our moribund, mendacious, mediocre, malfeasant, mifesaant Florida Public (sic) Service (sic) Commission a/k/a "OMISSION," in response to constant brief power interruptions (which were ultimately determined by PSC's engineer, and FPL's,  to be lack of trimming of trees touching power lines, on a stretch of power line located behind homes, rather than on the street, which FPL had ignored for years.
So determined was FPL to deny the existence of a problem, that it asked a  new neighbor, a motel manager, if he ever had power interruptions, suggesting the answer in a leading fashion.
He replied, "every day!  When I get home from work, my coffee maker clock is blinking."
For years, the problem has persisted.
So as Dean Rusk said, "We were eyeball to eyeball and the other guy just blinked."
Thanks to FPL for finally upgrading its equipment to prevent those infuriating, computer-destroying power interruptions.  No thanks to FPL employees for being rude -- evidently rude people in South Florida would never ask a lost, clueless FPL employee, "May I help you?"  "HUH!?" indeed!
Here's the clueless St. Augustine Record article in this morning's paper, yet another example of PR-driven hackery by hick hacks who don't know news from sports.  Thanks Stuart Korfhage: at least because of your shallow article, I was able to decode the meaning of the unfriendly man in the fancy-bears white FPL pickup truck.  Here it is:

FPL upgrading local equipment to increase reliability, efficiency

Posted: September 20, 2015 - 10:24pm

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Two Florida Power and Light automated lateral switches hang from a power pole in St. Augustine Beach on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The new switches, which will help automatically detect power issues and prevent outages, are among 360 the power company is installing in the county.   PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM
Two Florida Power and Light automated lateral switches hang from a power pole in St. Augustine Beach on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The new switches, which will help automatically detect power issues and prevent outages, are among 360 the power company is installing in the county. 

Richard Britt said he’s spent a lot of sleepless nights responding to power outage emergencies in his years as a senior line specialist for Florida Power & Light.
Now he’s part of project that might keep a few more workers from being awakened and get customers quicker relief from outages.
Britt, from Pompano Beach, and other FPL workers were in St. Johns County on Wednesday to work on the installation of automated switches on smaller power lines and to educate people on their benefits.
FPL has announced that it will replace more than 20,000 switches on smaller power lines — referred to as laterals — by the end of the year.
The advantage is that the switches work like circuit breakers in the home, shutting off power when a line is touched by something such as a falling tree branch or palm frond. But if the line is then cleared, the smart grid switches automatically re-energize.
“They allow us the ability to detect defaulted conditions on the line, temporarily disable the line to clear the default and then automatically restore service to the customer on their own, eliminating the need for a service call or a field visit from a line specialist like myself,” Britt said. “So our customers are being restored much more efficiently, more rapidly than before.”
Eileen Dees, senior communications specialist for FPL, was also in town Wednesday as workers were installing new switches on the lateral lines near Anastasia Plaza off State Road A1A.
She said FPL will have installed 345 automated lateral switches in St. Johns County by the end of the year.
It’s just part of the company’s overall plan to protect against weather-related outages.
Among the other actions taken by FPL in the county this year are:
■ Inspection of more than 14,000 utility poles for strength
■ Clearing of tree limbs and vegetation from 540 miles of power lines
■ Examining four main power lines with infrared technology
It’s the kind of thing FPL is doing around the state. Since the last major storm in 2005, FPL announced that it has spent more than $2 billion to make the electric grid “stronger and smarter.”
“As technology has improved and more resources been made available to us, it has just helped us step up our game even more so,” Britt said.
While Florida has been spared from severe storms in the last decade, it’s still hurricane season for another two months. And even if a big storm doesn’t strike in 2015, there’s still the risk next year.
“It’s more important now that people are out proactively getting those trees and getting those limbs away from the lines,” Dees said. “We work year-round on doing a wide variety of processes and work that helps prepare us for storm season. A lot of it is intended to help us restore power faster when severe weather comes along and outages do occur.”
As much as staff does what it can to prevent outages, workers know they will still have to respond when the weather turns really ugly.
“No utility company is storm proof,” Britt said. “We’re definitely more storm resilient. We’re ready.”

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