Florida Power & Light replaces equipment near Boynton Beach neighborhood dealing with power issue
7:22 PM, Aug 6, 2013
11:33 AM, Aug 7, 2013
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - A Boynton Beach neighborhood says their eight year old appliances are breaking, and they want to know why.
Neighbors in the Artesa subdivison say several times a month their power goes off and on. It may happen once or it may happen several times in a row.
"I heard this tremendous pop. When I came outside I just saw smoke and the inside part was melted," Barbara Sherry explained pointing to a melted electrical outlet.
Sherry described the destruction around her home after her power suddenly turned off and on last fall.
"This unit here was the biggest one. The 4 ton unit that went," Sherry said.
Sherry said 3 air conditioners, TV, pool heater and pool pump were all destroyed costing Sherry $20-thousand. Sherry believes the long term power problem shortened the life of her appliances.
"It was very hard to get them to cooperate or to get a claim form," Sherry said.
Florida Power and Light Responds
Florida Power and Light told us the problem is related to momentary power interruptions which are often mistaken as power surges. FPL said these interruptions are a sign the system is protecting you and preventing damage to the utility's electrical system.
However, we found there was damage to the utility's system. Plus, neighbors claim they had damage too.
In a July statement, the utility said it's not aware of any damage caused by service in Sherry's neighborhood even though the month before FPL sent a letter denying Sherry's damage claim.
The watchdog asked FPL to take a second look.
"They are now really looking and really finding out what's going on," Sherry said.
While FPL is still reviewing Sherry's damage claim, the utility admits this power problem damaged its own equipment.
They gave the Watchdog a list of work done to improve the reliability on Artesa Drive.
On April 17, 2013, FPL did a thermography line inspection and identified 4 locations of lightning arresters, 2 locations of insulators and a fuse switch that needed replacing along the main feed on Military Trail, Lawrence Rd and Gateway Blvd.
On January 24, 2013, FPL replaced a connecting cable on a disconnect switch because it was operating above normal temperatures. This equipment was located on Boynton Beach Blvd, just east of Sun Valley Rd.
On May 1, 2013, FPL did a full visual line inspection and found equipment that needed to be replaced along Boynton Beach Blvd and El Clair Ranch Road. This included 5 locations of damaged lightning arrestors, one fuse switch, and an insulator.
On June 3, 2013, a damaged fuse switch was replaced at the corner of Boynton Beach Blvd and Military Trail.
We found all these locations are within 15 miles of Sherry's home.
Neighbors want the power interruptions to stop
"When he used the word burned and damaged equipment, and acknowledged they had that I was shocked," Sherry explained.
Sherry said the problem is improving, but she's still losing power. She wants it fixed before something worse happens.
"I worry about my house burning down," Sherry explained.
Other neighbors told us they've also had damage, but did not file a claim. FPL said its reliability rate is 99.98 percent, the best in the state, but knows there is room for improvement.
It's still monitoring this problem. It plans to upgrade equipment in the area through next years.
We'll let you know when Sherry gets an answer on her claim.
We offered FPL numerous opportunities to talk about the issue in person, but our request was denied because the claim was put back in their legal department after our calls. Instead they provided information about the equipment repairs for our story and the full statement below:
"FPL is aware that some residents of the Jonathans Creek Development were experiencing momentary power interruptions that may be noticeable by customers and sometimes mistaken as ‘power surges.' We apologize for any inconvenience these might have caused and are not aware of any damage caused by our service in this neighborhood. While our reliability rate of 99.98 percent is the best in the state, we know there's always room for improvement. That's why we have taken steps to improve service reliability, including replacing equipment on the power lines last month that serve this community. In addition, over the next year, we will be strengthening the main power lines and equipment serving this area, which will help improve everyday reliability and prevent outages when severe weather strikes. FPL will continue to closely monitor the service and the equipment serving the Jonathans Creek Development.
To respect our customer's privacy, we cannot provide any information about individual customer accounts or claims that they have made."