Tampa Electric helping two northeastern utilities after severe weather
Crews will travel to Baltimore, Md., to help BG&E restore power after severe storm; Ybor City call center will take customer service calls for Pepco
TAMPA, June 30, 2012
After severe weather affected the Midwest and Northeast on Friday, Tampa Electric is helping two utilities – by sending crews to help in the field and by remotely supporting their customer service efforts through a call center in Ybor City.
Tampa Electric is sending 24 linemen and about 20 support personnel to central Maryland to help Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. restore power. The utility reported more than 400,000 customers without power today from the storm. The Tampa Electric crews will leave at dawn Sunday for the two-day drive and are prepared to stay for two weeks.
Tampa Electric customer service professionals (CSPs) began assisting Pepco at 1 p.m. today with customer outage calls through the Mutual Assistance Routing System, or MARS. The “virtual” technology allows Tampa Electric to help Pepco customers remotely. More than 400,000 Pepco customers remained out today.
Through the Web-based software, Tampa Electric CSPs can access basic customer information and are able to submit repair requests so Pepco dispatchers can prioritize their response to outages. To the customer, the transition is seamless. The system also enables customer service representatives from other utilities to answer calls from Tampa Electric customers in the event Tampa-based call centers must evacuate.
About a dozen states in the Midwest and Northeast were affected Friday by a fast-moving system called a derecho that included wind in excess of 70 miles per hour and frequent lightning. Utilities sustained extensive damage. Restoration activities are expected to take several days as the severe weather is expected to continue.
Tampa Electric is a member of the Southeastern Electric Exchange, or SEE, which is a network of utilities who pledge mutual assistance in case of storm or other emergency. Crews supporting the restoration efforts of other utilities are paid by the host utility.
MARS’ inception and development began in 2007 with TECO Energy and several other participating utilities in the Southeastern Electric Exchange, or SEE. The technology was first used in February 2010 when severe weather pummeled the Washington D.C. area. Pepco requested aid from Tampa Electric, which handled hundreds of outage-related calls for the D.C. utility. Pepco requested aid from Tampa Electric again in January 2011 after a severe snow storm.
Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company with regulated utility operations in Florida, including both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System . Tampa Electric serves nearly 676,000 customers in West Central Florida. Other subsidiaries include TECO Coal, which owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia, and TECO Guatemala, which is engaged in electric power generation and energy-related businesses in Guatemala.