FPL spends 1 billion plus to strengthen electric grid; FPL checks all 1.1 mil poles every eight year

Many power poles concrete after storms of '04-'05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Nicholas Perrone has seen what happens when the winds come, and the lights go out.

He's a line specialist with Florida Power and Light and it was his job to get the lights back on after Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004.

"It was constant.  The wires and poles we just put up, were knocked down the following week so it was a constant battle to get ahead of the game," said Perrone.    

Even with no hurricanes making landfall since Wilma nine years ago, Florida's consistent summer storms can cause problems.

Monday, the job is to repair a switch on a power pole likely hit by lightning in downtown West Palm Beach.

It's a big job for FPL to inspect all 1.1 million power poles in its network.  Some of the power poles are not made of wood anymore, but concrete.

Every pole is checked out over an eight year period.

Some of the ones that carry heavier weight loads when it comes to wires and equipment are now concrete.

The company did not have an exact number on how many have made the switch, but FPL says it has spent 1.4 billion dollars hardening its system since 2006. 

"It's such a gratifying feeling restoring power to a family that doesn't have power. Something little in their day that they don't realize they need but it makes us feel so much better that we're able to help them out," said Perrone.

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