Yesterday’s blog – Santee Cooper Reliability – All the Facts – Part 1 – looked at the various measures utilities universally use to report their reliability. These are important numbers and reporting all the facts about the statistics is important.

ECC suggested to compare the Major Event Days [MED] on outages. Santee Cooper shows significant increases in customer outages in that case. In 2018 and 2019 FPL customers experienced 5.77 and 6.8 additional minutes of lost power during MEDs. Comparatively, Santee Cooper customers experienced 497.85 and 113.94 additional minutes of lost power during MEDs.

YEAR FPL SAIDI W/ MED FPL SAIDI W/O MED SANTEE COOPER SAIDI W/ MED SANTEE COOPER SAIDI W/O MED
2018 60.36 54.59 518.41 20.56
2019 58.26 51.46 132.88 18.94

As ECC noted, just in 2019: FPL – 6.8 minutes; Santee Cooper – 113.94 minutes. Minutes of difference are small; more than 16 times the difference … not small.

These numbers indicate the need for more investment for Santee Cooper customers – a lack of resiliency in the Santee Cooper grid. Data suggests that Santee Cooper lacks the preparedness to deal with low-frequency, high-impact events, like storms, which many say are growing in intensity and frequency. Just think about the 2020 hurricane season. (See our blog from a few days ago (See our blog from a few days ago.)

It’s clear: NextEra is committed to investing in reliability for their customers through the $5 billion invested since 2006.

It shows. In November, FPL received the ReliabilityOne® National Reliability Excellence Award for an unprecedented fifth time in six years. Gulf Power, which NextEra bought in early 2019, earned its first ever reliability award.

NextEra can invest, too. Investment is geared, for example, towards hardening power system so harsh weather has less of an impact. FPL has been upgrading or replacing distribution power poles and upgrading infrastructure with intelligent devices. That level of active improvement cannot be said for Santee Cooper customers.

2019 Breakdown:

YEAR UTILITY SAIDI W/ MED SAIFI W/ MED CAIDI W/ MED SAIDI W/O MED SAIFI W/O MED CAIDI W/O MED # OF CUSTOMERS DO OUTAGES AUTO RECORD?
2019 FPL 58.260 0.670 86.955 51.460 0.600 85.767 5,086,544 Y
2019 SANTEE COOPER 132.883 0.787 168.848 18.942 0.270 70.156 184,242 N

As you can see highlighted in the table, on average FPL customers were without power for 32.518 more minutes than Santee Cooper customers. That is only 32.518 minutes while serving 4,902,302 more customers accounts than Santee Cooper direct serve customers. That means more experience with reliability, too. More experience; repeated success.

In the table look at “Do outages auto-record”? It can be a critical difference between FPL and Santee Cooper. Santee does not auto record outages, and that could allow human error. Smart systems like FPL’s help on speed and accuracy. Without that a utility could, for various reasons, not record all outages. For instance, maybe smaller outages could be left off, something FPL could not do since outages are automatically recorded. No human error.

Not only does FPL directly serve a larger customer base than Santee Cooper, but FPL service territory is more expansive than Santee Cooper’s. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of FPL service territory and Santee Cooper’s direct service territory. FPL is responsible for returning power across a broader territory.

Look at it this way for a sense of scale: FPL returns power back to an entire city while Santee Cooper is responsible for one city block. FPL is tested and ready.

All the facts:

Year over year FPL and NextEra improved reliability. This had tangible results as FPL’s customers experience less time without power than Santee Cooper’s. The strength of FPL’s grid and investment in reliability is reiterated when comparing average minutes of lost power including MEDs and not including MEDs, a difference of roughly seven minutes last year.

Furthermore, Santee Cooper has a huge discrepancy when comparing MEDs & NON-MEDs as shown by 2019 data. Santee Cooper had a difference of 113.943 between MEDs and non-MEDs whereas the difference for FPL was only 6.8 between MED’S and non-MEDs in 2019. This reiterates the already proven point – not only is Santee Cooper’s grid weaker, but there is no road to significantly invest in more reliability and resilience for customers. Simply, Santee Cooper cannot afford to invest.

A financially healthy, capable power company, repeatedly tested and succeeding, is a better choice for customers in the Santee Cooper service territory.