As Florida residents, we ask ourselves many questions concerning hurricane season, such as “are we ready for the next big storm?” Ted Curry, director of energy studies at the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center, helps policymakers and utility providers decide how to best prepare for severe storms; he also addresses many of our major concerns and questions. While many residents question whether our state and utilities are prepared for hurricane season, Curry responds they are “as ready as they can be”.
Since the hurricane season of 2004 and 2005, the state Public Service Commission has established procedures for the utilities to follow in order to be better prepared. Additionally, the utilities meet annually to discuss collaborative efforts and what they can change and/or improve. A major way the utilities have become more prepared is by making the system more resilient; this causes fewer and shorter power outages. Consumers benefit with better and more cost effective service during storms.
Another question that arises often is “why don’t we move electric wires underground?” Curry explains moving these lines would significantly increase expenses for consumers, but not so much the reliability of the services. While moving the wires underground protect from damage against wind, the wires become more vulnerable to water damage from flooding and storm surge. Curry warns; moving electric lines underground in Florida may lead to increased cost but decreased reliability.
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