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Hurricane Dorian: FPL prepares in Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte

Source: 
The Herald-Tribune

Aug. 29--Florida Power & Light Co. has activated its emergency response plan as dangerous Hurricane Dorian approaches the state.

The state's largest electric utility provider -- with nearly 585,000 customers in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties -- has ramped up its storm command center in Palm Beach County in preparation for Dorian, spokeswoman Marie Bertot said Thursday.

READ MORE: Complete hurricane coverage

"Part of our emergency plan is staging equipment, including miles of power lines, transformers and equipment so we have the tools to restore power to our customers," she said.

The company begins staging repair vehicles and crews about 72 hours before a storm hits.

Nearly a half-million residents of Southwest Florida were without power after ferocious Hurricane Irma plowed through the state in September 2017. Power was restored to 95% of the local customers within a week.

FPL has undertaken several major projects in the area to ensure power can be restored swiftly after a disastrous storm strike. It has strengthened main power lines, trimmed hundreds of miles of trees near lines, reinforced or replaced outdated power poles and installed smart grid technology in Bradenton, Sarasota, Venice and North Port to harden its power grid to lessen outages and quickly turn on the lights if a major storm sweeps the area.

"This has the potential to be a dangerous storm," Bertot said. "Even with those significant investments, storms can cause damage to our equipment and can cause outages as well."

Customers are advised to download the FPL mobile app to follow updates. They also can find storm tips at fpl.com/storm.

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(c)2019 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.

Visit Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla. at www.heraldtribune.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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