June 02, 2006

PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (June 2, 2006) -- Anticipating another heavy storm season, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is working daily at Broward County's Port Everglades to install new hurricane-resistant utility poles and upgrade wiring throughout South Florida's petroleum port.

FPL selected Port Everglades as one of the first of its more than 100 electrical network hardening projects because one-fifth of Florida's energy needs are fulfilled with fuel products that are delivered by ship to petroleum companies and utilities located at the port.

"Electrical power for the docks and the petroleum companies' terminals is essential for keeping South Florida on the move before and after a severe storm or hurricane," says Port Everglades Director Phillip C. Allen.  

Fuel ships are given first priority to re-enter the Port after severe weather.  But electrical power is needed to pump fuel from the petroleum company's terminals' tanks into tanker trucks and pipelines so it can be delivered to retail gas stations and other distribution centers, Allen explains.  Fuel coming through Port Everglades is distributed to 12 counties in South Florida and three international airports.

Within Port Everglades, FPL is replacing 187 utility poles with new cement poles that can withstand winds of up to 140-150 mph.  The company is also replacing underground equipment, adding dockside lighting at the petroleum piers, and upgrading one of the two substations that provide service to the Port.  

Although power lines may still be damaged by flying debris, strengthening the electrical system will help to reduce storm-related damage and speed restoration efforts, according to FPL spokesperson Amy Albury. Over the next 10 years FPL will be investing hundreds of millions of dollars in their Storm Secure plan.
As one of South Florida's leading economic engines, Port Everglades is the gateway for international trade and cruise vacations.  Port Everglades is ranked as one of the busiest cruise ports worldwide, the nation's 12th busiest containerized cargo port and South Florida's main distribution port for petroleum products including, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.  The Port Everglades Department is a self-supporting Enterprise Fund of Broward County government with operating revenues of approximately $105 million annually.  It does not rely on local tax dollars for operations. The Port provides more than 15,000 direct jobs and generates $2.87 billion in business activity and $879.5 million in personal income annually in Broward County.  

More information on Port Everglades, which is governed by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, is available on the Internet at www.broward.org/port or by calling 954-523-3404.