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Florida Power and Light ready to roll out rovers to help restore any power outages

Device can scan substations to pinpoint possible problems
Florida Power and Light rover
Posted at 3:53 PM, Jun 03, 2022

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A powerful wind gust or a fallen tree from the potential tropical storm could knock out power at one of the many transformers in South Florida.

If that happens, there won't be any workers at the scene, but there will likely be a Florida Power and Light substation rover.

The device looks much like the vehicles that NASA uses to explore the surface of Mars.

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Florida Power and Light spokesman Marshall Hastings
Florida Power and Light spokesman Marshall Hastings describes how the rovers help crews pinpoint power problems.

The rovers are operated remotely from West Palm Beach and have a camera that can scan the substation to pinpoint possible causes of an outage from a storm.

"We're able to roll this remotely, and we're able to see if any damage has been caused by the severe weather," FPL spokesman Marshall Hastings said. "If not, it saves restoration time because we don't have to get anybody out here. We can move on to the next step of the restoration process."

Because flooding will likely be the biggest challenge from this storm, FPL said the rovers can give detailed information about transformer problems when wet roads make it harder for crews to get to the substations.

Frank Mule, surfer at Lake Worth Beach
Frank Mule describes the surfing conditions at Lake Worth Beach ahead of the tropical system.

Meanwhile, surfers were taking advantage of the high waves Friday on Lake Worth Beach ahead of the storm.

"Once (the wind) goes offshore ... it starts pushing water down, and the offshore winds clean it right up," surfer Frank Mule said. "That's the scenario we want."

Mule said on days like this, smart surfers keep their eyes and ears open.

"When lightning is anywhere in the area, we start hearing thunder usually that's the tall tale," Mule said. "[That's when we] get out now before it gets any closer."