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Homestead Power Ready for Summer

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Posted: Friday, July 6, 2018 12:30 am

With temperatures routinely in the 90s now, air conditioners are generally running twenty-four hours a day and that doesn’t count all the other electrical appliances and gadgets in the normal household. It is perhaps a quirk of Mother Nature that hurricane season runs simultaneously with our hottest months and adds to the misery when extended power outages do occur.

Director of Homestead Public Services Energy, Barbara Quinones knows she and her team can’t prevent storms. During 2017, their response to the community, and later beyond our shores, earned them the “Restoring Communities Award” from the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA). While they appreciated the recognition, lessons learned from last year have heightened their preparations for future operations.

HPS, founded in 1916, is one of thirty-four remaining municipal electric utilities in Florida. As a member of FMEA, they have cooperative agreements when additional resources are required for recovery. “When we first became aware of the potential danger of Irma, we initially coordinated for supplemental crews and for their logistical support. We made arrangements with some local hotels for lodging, a caterer, laundry support, and those kinds of things,” Quinones explained. “We had crews from as far away as New York and Wisconsin. We were ready to send teams out as soon as it was safe. The crews worked around the clock and having our logistics support in place was significant to their ability to function more effectively. We met with other municipal utilities in the months after to share information since Hurricane Irma did impact so much of the state.”

“Be prepared,” is at the top of the list of concerns when it comes to what

residents can do for the season. “Be safe, especially around downed power lines,” is the concern if a storm does hit.

Hurricane guides advise three to seven days of provisions for each household. Keeping the streets initially clear of those not involved in recovery efforts help facilitate teams being able to access damaged areas.

“We are increasing the number of ‘hardened’ utility poles,” Quiones added. “When we have new poles or replace older ones, we use the

larger, sturdier ones now available. We will be able to do some underground wiring with places under 

onstruction like the Homestead Transit Station. We always look at that as an option.”

A second tree-trimming crew has also been added to help with year-round clearing around power lines.

In other news, the City recently issued a press release about HPS participation in a notable municipal solar project. “Homestead Public Services Energy (HPS Energy) announced its participation in the Florida Municipal Solar Project, a large-scale solar energy project that will enable HPS-Energy to provide renewable energy to its customers in the most cost-effective way. Designed to generate 223.5-megawatts of solar energy, the planned Florida Municipal Solar Project will be one of the largest municipal-backed solar projects in the United States. Project plans call for three solar farms expected to generate 74.5 megawatts each.

The Florida Municipal Solar Project is a joint effort between HPS Energy, 11 additional Florida municipal electric utilities Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) and NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC. FMPA is serving as the project coordinator. The builder, owner and operator of the solar farms is Florida-based NextEra Florida Renewables, LLC. HPS Energy, along with fellow participating municipal electric utilities, will purchase power from the project. There are no up-front costs for the participating municipal electric utilities, and HPS Energy will only pay for the power it purchases.” Full operations are anticipated in 2020. The complete release is at and more details are available at

Although the large solar project is designed for municipal plants, some HPS customers are augmenting their residences or businesses with installation of solar through private companies that offer the service.

Like everyone, HPS employees hope for a mild hurricane season. They stand ready to go into action though if sever weather does strike.

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