A Great Leap in Storm Protection and Reliability

To ensure our systems and infrastructure are prepared, hardened, and reliable, Lake Worth Beach Electric Utility has launched a $100 million System Hardening and Reliability Improvement Project (SHRIP). We have begun a significant system-wide upgrade designed to weather big storms, eliminate vegetation and wildlife triggered outages, improve our reliability, and increase our capacity for commercial and residential growth. In October 2019, the Lake Worth Beach City Commission approved the multi-year capital plan which includes:

  • Replacing older poles with new larger, stronger poles designed to stand up to Category 5 storm events such as hurricanes
  • Added system redundancy in key areas which will allow us to decrease the number and duration of outages
  • Hardening of the system in known trouble spots to reduce outages triggered by animal and vegetation contacts
  • Continued conversions to higher operating voltages (4,000 volts to 26,000 volts) in our electric distribution system to increase the amount of power we can deliver to our customers while also reducing the thermal stress on aging system components
  • Deployment of advanced devices to more rapidly detect system problems and perform switching operations to more quickly restore power during outage events
“I have tasked our engineers with designing a hardening of our system so that it is less vulnerable and susceptible to outages, and when we do experience an outage that it reduces the number of people affected, and it takes less time to restore service to a customer.”

Ed Liberty
Director | Lake Worth Beach Electric Utility

10_Bell_Check“Our goal with this project is to greatly minimize the number of people affected by an outage by hardening the systems against big storms and wildlife impacts, and add features such as redundancy and automation to more quickly restore them to service.”

Walt Gil
Assistant Director | Transmission & Distribution

We recently replaced 129 poles along Lake Osborne Drive, Lake Worth Road, Detroit Street, and Engle Road with newer storm hardened poles capable of withstanding Category 5 storm wind loading. And every new pole we install or work on includes features designed to reduce vulnerability to wildlife and vegetation.

“As we upgrade and convert our lines and install our new poles and equipment, we often find ourselves working in and around our customer’s property lines. Our job is to combine good communication and diplomacy and a thorough and efficient job site set up so we can get our job completely done the first time, thereby reducing the disruption to our customers.”

Michael Gibson
Project team foreman | Lake Worth Beach Electric Utility

“I’ve been doing this for 16 years, and I’ve gotten good at it, I enjoy the work, and I’m always proud of my team and the results we can achieve. It is important to work with our customers well as we make upgrades to our lines that run through the neighborhoods.”

Sam Jackson
Project team foreman | Lake Worth Beach Electric Utility

What’s Next?

  • We’re working with our Finance Department and external Financial Advisors to secure the funding needed to execute on the project, likely through the sale of bonds
  • While we work to get the funding in place we continue with our hardening and reliability improvements such as the replacement of poles and equipment. You can expect to see our crews installing new poles and equipment along our community streets, alleyways and backyards
  • Our engineers are adding technology features to allow our system operators to more rapidly detect problems and direct repair crews to shorten outages