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FPL accelerates plans to strengthen electric grid

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Florida Power & Light Co. wants to speed up its plans to strengthen its electric grid against hurricanes and other extreme weather.

FPL, a unit of NextEra Energy Inc., already has spent nearly $460 million since 2007 to improve its infrastructure. FPL President Eric Silagy said Thursday that FPL expects to invest another half a billion dollars over the next three years to get planned equipment upgrades into place sooner than previously scheduled.

Those improvements include concrete utility poles, steel transmission structures and new systems to monitor water levels at substations at risk for flooding.

Silagy said the accelerated plans build on lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy and flooding Florida experienced after tropical storms last year.

The Public Service Commission is considering FPL's plans. Silagy said there would be no immediate effect on consumers' rates.