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Florida Power & Light expands its work with Itron

Smart grid technology enabled the utility company to avoid more than half a million outages during Hurricane Irma

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FPL serves around 10 million people across nearly half the state of Florida
FPL serves around 10 million people across nearly half the state of Florida

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has signed a seven-year contract renewal with Itron.


FPL’s extended contract with the utility software solutions provider includes managed services, purchases of new Gen5 hardware and professional services.


FPL is the third-largest electric utility in the US, serving nearly five million customer accounts or an estimated 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida.


Under the renewal contract, FPL will deploy new Gen5 network hardware and access points to support higher neighbourhood area network (NAN) speeds that are reportedly up to 24 times faster than previous generations and will move to GPS-enabled network interface cards (NICs) for streetlights.


FPL will also deploy 2,100 new automated feeder switches (AFS) to support the utility’s network reliability goals. Other upgrades include replacing 1,000 radios from legacy distribution automation systems with Gen5 bridges.


Gen5 is 100 percent backwards-compatible with earlier-generation equipment, ensuring seamless integration and deployability.


FPL will also rearchitect the Itron distributed automation system with the aim of providing end-to-end IP connectivity for greater security and higher network performance. Itron will provide managed services to FPL, ensuring reliable, predictable software delivery, operations and upgrades.


“The billions of dollars we’ve invested throughout the last 11 years to build a stronger, smarter energy grid continue to provide tangible benefits to our customers in the form of higher day-to-day reliability and faster restoration following a major storm,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “The unprecedented size and scope of hurricane Irma last September tested every piece of equipment across our 27,000-square-mile service area.”


FPL claims smart grid technology not only enabled it to avoid more than 500,000 outages during the storm, it also allowed it to restore service to customers before it was safe for its trucks to roll.


The renewal contract follows FPL’s contract award to Silver Spring Networks (before its acquisition by Itron) in 2007, which led to deployment of Silver Spring’s wireless IPv6 mesh networking technology as well as management and control software to connect and control FPL’s meters.


Since 2007, the network has been further expanded to manage and control more than 3,700 automated feeder switches, 20,000 intelligent line sensors and nearly 500,000 streetlight photocells.


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