Florida Utility Preps for Drone Use Ahead of Storm Season

This week, as part of its storm-season preparations, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) hosted a “staging site” training program, which included the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

More than 1,200 employees trained for what would be a massive logistical response to a major hurricane, including the deployment of thousands of workers and the use of equipment and advanced technology, including drones, to rapidly survey damage. The event took place at the Pompano Park Racetrack in Pompano Beach.

FPL, touting itself as the third-largest electric utility in the U.S., serves an estimated 10 million people across nearly half the state of Florida.

During this week’s training, FPL employees participated in damage briefings and performed assessments of equipment. FPL also demonstrated how technology – including UAS – plays an important part in surveying areas and speeding up restoration efforts.

FPL says drones were critical to the restoration process following last year’s Hurricane Matthew. Specifically, the utility deployed drones more than 130 times to quickly survey storm damage in areas that were otherwise inaccessible or unsafe in the storm’s immediate aftermath.

“This week’s staging site training is yet another visible demonstration of how FPL prepares year-round to safely and quickly restore power when a major event, such as a hurricane, impacts our customers’ lives,” states Manny Miranda, senior vice president of power delivery for FPL. “This is one of the many ways our employees train for storm season, using a hands-on experience to test our power restoration plans.”

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