The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA), in partnership with the American Public Power Association (APPA), is hosting a first-ever Florida public power statewide hurricane tabletop exercise under a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security & Emergency Response (CESER) Cooperative Agreement. Nearly 30 organizations, including FEMA, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and the Florida Public Service Commission, will be participating as either players, observers, facilitators or evaluators. The exercise will begin tomorrow, May 17, at 9 a.m. and is scheduled until 3:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel.
The purpose of the Florida Public Power Tabletop Exercise is to evaluate existing plans, policies, and procedures as if players were responding to a real-world emergency. In this scenario, a major hurricane impacts the State of Florida causing extensive damage, including power system damage, and requiring mutual aid assistance and resources from around the country. The exercise, facilitated by Critical Path Solutions, will feature in-depth discussions of emergency preparedness and response issues, including roles and responsibilities, communication and coordination with state, local and federal government and mutual aid scenarios.
“By working with federal agencies and our national public power association, we are able to offer this unique and first-of-its-kind opportunity to our members,” said Amy Zubaly, Florida Municipal Electric Association Executive Director. “While Florida public power utilities prepare year-round for disasters, including holding their own city- or utility-wide hurricane exercises, simulating a hurricane in a real-world scenario with real-time responses and immediate feedback with a cross-section of Florida public power utilities and federal, state, and local partners is just another way that Florida’s municipal electric utilities are preparing for hurricane season.”
On Thursday, May 18, also at the Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel, FMEA will be holding its annual Hurricane & Storm Preparedness Forum, a one-day event that offers presentations on hurricane preparedness and response, mutual aid, and other disaster and emergency response related issues.
Highlights of this year’s forum include a 2023 hurricane season outlook and update by Will Ulrich, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, with the National Weather Service. Multiple presentations throughout the day will share lessons learned and best practices identified following the recovery of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
In addition to trimming trees near power lines, as well as inspecting and upgrading utility poles and equipment, Florida public power utilities have been taking steps throughout the year to ensure reliability and minimize outages by strengthening electrical systems and upgrading substations.
For more information on the Florida Public Power Tabletop Exercise and the 2023 Hurricane & Storm Preparedness Forum, visit https://www.flpublicpower.com/events/hurricane-and-storm-preparedness-forum##.
The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) represents the unified interests of 33 public power communities across the state, which provide electricity to more than 4 million of Florida’s residential and business consumers.