SEA OATS BEACH
Help us preserve Islamorada
SEA OATS BEACH - FKEC PROJECT
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative - Working For Us
Since 1940, we have been lucky to have the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative (FKEC), as a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility serving the Upper and Middle Keys. There are 33,000 of us with accounts from the Monroe-Dade County line to the Seven Mile Bridge.
There is one major system improvement project scheduled for 2021 that will have a significant impact for Islamorada residents, particularly those at the south end of Lower Matecumbe Key.
FKEC maintains the critical transmission line, which brings power from the mainland to the Florida Keys. Nearly all of our energy is purchased from Florida Power & Light (FPL). Generators in Marathon and FKEC’s two solar arrays contribute only a small portion of the power supply.
The severe erosion along Sea Oats beach is of great concern to FKEC and power customers. The erosion has threatened the integrity of the transmission line where many of the poles are perilously close to the ocean tides.
During Hurricane Irma in September 2017, the storm surge battered the shoreline at the beach as well as the power poles. One pole had a single rock, no bigger than a basketball, prevent it from falling. That would have resulted in power outages the entire way from MM 80 to Key West.
In 2021, FKEC hopes to begin the effort of moving all of the power poles from the ocean side of the highway at Sea Oats Beach to the bay side, between U.S. One and the access road. FDOT is currently in the process of working to stabilize the shoreline at Sea Oats Beach. Its work will need to be completed before FKEC begins its project there.
Moving the huge power poles certainly will be a major effort. Perhaps this project, when completed, will benefit the sea turtle nesting beach area. Once the effort to move the transmission poles and power lines is under way, patience will be needed as there will be a few traffic delays.
Because FKEC is member-owned, the cost is a significant issue to property owners. The FKEC has applied for grants from FEMA and they are in the final review phase.