FP&L begins program to bury power lines in Sarasota County

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Before Hurricane Irma's impacts were felt in Sarasota County, Scott Foxworthy and his family were in the dark. 

"We lost power a couple of days before," he said. 

After Irma passed, not much changed. 

"We lost power for about a week... Me and my wife have six kids. For eight people in a house without air conditioning, it was tough," he said. 

Scott is one of many customers whose neighborhoods made it to the top of Florida Power & Light's priority list for repairs after the storm because their power lines are often the first to go down. 

"The main reason is vegetation. As you can see out here, there are many trees that are covering our power lines. We do our best to trim our trees," said Enrique Formoso. 

FP&L's Storm Secure Underground Program manager, Enrique Formoso said sometimes that's not enough, so they are taking power lines from above and bury them below. 

FP&L is only offering the pilot program in areas it believes would most benefit from underground power, including neighborhoods that quickly lost power during Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Matthew and areas that also lose power from daily rain storms.

"What we have learned is that our underground power lines, or underground infrastructure, is better reliability than our overhead," said Formoso. 

During Hurricane Matthew, they proved to be 95% more reliable. During Hurricane Irma, 83% more reliable. 

Day-to-day, FP&L said underground power is proven to be 50% more reliable. 

As crews continue their work, Scott said if the program is offered to you, he'd recommend saying 'yes.'

"Sign up as fast as you can because it really will be a long term benefit to your family," he said.