NewsSarasota, Manatee CountySarasota


FPL installing more underground power lines as forecasters watch Tropical Storm Elsa

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Posted at 3:52 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 17:39:41-04

SARASOTA — Normally people don’t get too excited seeing construction going in front of their house, but Rachel Black welcomes what she's seeing.

“New technology upgrading. It will be great to have," she said.

The upgrade is from Florida Power and Light as they install power lines underground in this Sarasota neighborhood.

“Just excited to see how it works," said Black.

FPL says trees falling into overhead power lines was the number one cause of outages during Hurricane Irma in 2017.

And putting the lines underground has helped improve reliability by 40% since 2006.

“In addition to being more reliable, if there is an outage, we are moving power lines from the back of homes to the front. So it will be faster to do restoration," said FPL spokesperson George Bennett.

Rachel says she loses power two or three times a year.

“I have three little ones. So there’s no internet, no TV, we are pretty board.”

FPL says they pick the neighborhoods where trees knocking out power has been a problem during past storms.

The process involves horizontal drilling in yards as crews feed power lines down one hole and out another.

They are trying to get as much done as possible before Tropical Storm Elsa causes concern in the Atlantic.

“Safety is a big concern, so we don’t want to be having any type of issues for our customers that they can fall into or step into. So we will make sure the site is clear before any type of storm comes through," said FPL engineering lead Karol Chorak.

FPL says they’ve done about 250 projects like this so far, many of them in Sarasota.

And they will cover hundreds of more homes in the coming months.