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FPL faces new challenges preparing for hurricane season during the pandemic

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 18:15:00-04

When it comes to hurricane season, Florida Power and Light CEO Eric Silagy says storm preparation is like a military operation.

"It is largely about logistics and making sure you put the right people in the right spot so they can do the right job to get the lights on," he says.

This year though is different.

Crews may contend with visible storm damage, while dealing with the invisible challenge of the pandemic.

"We are not going to be bringing in people that could infect others," Silagy says.

Depending on how the coronavirus plays out across the country, if we get hit with a storm that could lead to longer restoration times.

"Because we simply may not get the same number of people and even if we do, we will not be as efficient as we normally are," Silagy says.

The St. Lucie County Fairgrounds, traditionally a staging site, is part of a drill on Wednesday.

FPL is working with different temperature monitoring systems to see which are most efficient.

One involves thermal imaging.

The key number is 100.5. If your body temperature measures that, or anything above, you can’t work that day.

Normally 2,000-3,000 people would be housed at the fairgrounds. The pandemic will force a reduction in those numbers, giving more space for workers in bunkhouses.

In the dining hall, other accommodations will be made.

"We’ve had to space out the tables and the chairs," Silagy says.

Despite being forced to look at new ways to prepare, Silagy says their main message is still the same, "24/7 we will work until the last customer is restored."