‘We are in uncharted waters’: FPL executives talk hurricane preparation amid a global pandemic
By Max Chesnes June 17, 2020
As the rumblings of hurricane season grow louder, an unprecedented challenge could be on the horizon for Florida Power & Light Co., the power company that serves most of the Treasure Coast and state.
What is normally the routine procedure of hurricane preparation now has an added obstacle for the Florida-based utility’s employees, customers and vendors: the global coronavirus pandemic.
“We understand the importance of having electricity. But I also want to be honest with everybody and our customers: We are in uncharted waters,” Eric Silagy, president and chief executive officer of FPL, told the crowd Wednesday at the company’s staging event at the St. Lucie County Fairgrounds.
A main goal of FPL is to minimize the movement of crews by keeping storm response teams assigned to the same work areas and reducing crowd sizes, according to a list of the utility’s plans provided by Orlove.
Because of this, Silagy predicts a potentially slower response time in FPL’s power restoration when electricity goes out, he said.
The list of FPL’s hurricane-pandemic goals also includes providing personal protective equipment, including face masks, to all employees, Orlove said. The utility also plans to “extensively clean” and sanitize storm staging sites and command centers to protect vendors and employees.
“I will not sacrifice safety,” Silagy said. “I am not going to compromise the safety of our customers, of our vendors, and of the men and women who heed the call and respond.”