Florida Power & Light is used to dealing with the aftermath of high winds, heavy rain, and flooding — what we expect when a storm comes our way. However, COVID-19 is something different.
"This may be a hurricane season like none other that we’ve seen,” said Bill Orlove with FPL.
The power company over the years has buried lines and reinforced poles to withstand hurricanes, but until now, it hasn’t had to battle an infectious disease.
FPL says this time around the calvary from other states — those line workers that have flooded South Florida before — probably won’t be around this storm season.
"Now we are dealing with this situation that we may be restoring power in the middle of a pandemic, and what we are seeing is that extra safety measures that we are taking and the challenge of getting extra crews into the state of Florida may cause extended outages for our customers,” Orlove said.
Orlove also said the plan is to have smaller FPL teams work in areas near where they live and normally work and not travel outside their region.
“These staging sites are going to be a lot smaller," Orlove said. "So there will be more of them — less people at each staging site to ensure that we’re able to keep not only our crews but our customers safe with social distancing and other safety procedures that were are taking.“
Those procedures also involve the extra cleaning of the equipment the line workers use when they’re on the road. Orlove says that process takes time. The result is a call for calm if you do lose power.
“We are going to get the lights back on safely and as quickly as possible after a hurricane,” he said. “We are asking our customers for their patience.”
FPL tells us this storm season due to COVID-19 they simply can’t create those mini cities that hundreds of line workers use as launching points to neighborhoods where the power has gone out. The power company encourages you to keep in mind that it's going to take longer and to have a plan for your family.