Engineer's Goof Turned Out Florida Lights

Worker disabled two levels of protective backup systems
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2008 10:31 AM CST
FILE **Turkey Point, one of three nuclear power plants in Florida is seen in this Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2001, file photo, in Miami. A Florida Power & Light spokesman says the widespread power outages affecting...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – One engineer's blunder shut off the power in Florida Tuesday, the Miami Herald reports. Florida Light & Power says a field engineer diagnosing a faulty switch disabled two levels of safety backups—against company policy—as he worked. In a bit of extremely unfortunate timing, a fault then occurred that knocked out dozens of transmission lines and substations, including one that served the Turkey Point nuclear reactor.

The utility's president apologized to the million homes up and down the state that lost power and said procedures were being changed "out of an abundance of caution." FPL's boss wouldn't name the engineer who slipped up or give any details about him except to say that he was experienced. The engineer has been suspended with pay while the company investigates.