July 22nd, 2013 | by Jane Smith | published in Uncategorized
Editor’s note: Today’s guest blogger is Kirk Suscella from Florida Power & Light. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
At FPL, we understand how much our customers depend on electricity. When they flip the
switch, they expect the lights to come on. We agree. That’s why we’re continuously investing
time and resources to improve the service we provide to our 4.6 million residential and business
Google Enterprise gives us the tools that let us easily use more than 100 data sets of
information about the area we serve – that’s more than 1 million data points. With these tools,
we can better locate property lines, our trucks and equipment, customer locations, and even
eagle nests and conservation areas – all important information when investigating issues or
With Google Maps, we have a single, visual interface to determine the smartest and most
efficient way to restore and improve service to our customers. For example, our Restoration
Spatial View, is a powerful Google Maps-based tool that allows us to monitor severe weather,
pending customer requests, crew locations as well as the power our system is providing and
which customers are without power. The information is plotted on a map so we can quickly
identify and fix problems as they arise.
Each restoration crew has a laptop in its truck to allow them to quickly access this data and
locate problems. Earlier this year, we expanded our restoration crews’ access by equipping
them with “smart tablets” to use even when they are outside of the trucks. We achieved our best
reliability performance on record in 2012, and we expect technology tools like those provided by
Google to help drive continued service improvements for the benefit of our customers.
Our employees aren’t the only ones who have information about outages. FPL Power Tracker
is a web-based tool that uses the Google Maps API to let customers search and report outages
also. They can see details about outages affecting any of our customers, including when they
were reported, what caused them and when power is expected to be restored.
During hurricanes or severe storms, we switch the Power Tracker into “Storm Mode” and
show broader county-by-county power outage numbers. We also show estimated restoration
times so residents who have evacuated an area know when they can return home, and those
who weathered the storm know when their power will be restored.
When the power goes out, customers want to know why, and our crews and technicians need to
know the nature of the problem and its precise location in order to fix it. While storms in Florida
may be severe, FPL has equally powerful tools to help us withstand them and keep our
customers’ lights on.