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FPL to strengthen Bradenton-area electrical system

Old and new power poles can be seen next to one another in this view looking south along Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach.
Old and new power poles can be seen next to one another in this view looking south along Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach. HERALD FILE PHOTO

Florida Power and Light, as a part of its 2016-2018 storm hardening plan, will make improvements to the Bradenton area’s electrical system.

Improvements within the statewide plan include the completion of hardening main (feeder) power lines serving community facilities, upgrading main power lines across FPL’s service area, initiating upgrades of smaller neighborhood (lateral) power lines and continuing to replace wooden transmission line structures with steel and concrete towers, according to an FPL release.

FPL will also continue to deploy tens of thousands of intelligent devices and smart switches to help detect and predict problems and restore service faster when outages occur.

Upgrades to four main power lines serving key facilities in the Bradenton area, which will allow the lines to better withstand major storms and allow for faster restoration following power outages, are in the works for 2016. The work consists of installing stronger power poles — including, in some projects, concrete poles designed to withstand wind gusts of up to 130 mph, according to the release.

“Our three-year storm hardening plan will help us deliver reliable service to our customers in Bradenton, thanks to a more resilient energy grid,” Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL said in the release. “Our customers are already seeing the benefits of strengthened power lines, with hardened lines showing on average a 40 percent improvement in everyday performance. Through a number of new projects in the area, we will deliver even better service they can count on in good weather and bad.”

FPL will also install 12 automated switches on main power lines and 150 automated switches on smaller power lines serving neighborhoods and subdivisions. The automated devices detect and prevent potential problems along the energy grid, as well as restore and reroute power, when necessary, to reduce the number of customers affected by an outage.

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