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Tampa Electric makes it easy to manage storm outages from your mobile device

We’re prepared for 2014 hurricane season, thanks to year-round preparations and mobile technology

TAMPA, May 28, 2014

Hurricane season starts June 1, and Tampa Electric is ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store. The company’s year-round preparations enable crews to handle the potential impacts of hurricanes and widespread power outages.

Tampa Electric’s comprehensive storm plan is in place and crews are ready to help restore power as safely and quickly as possible in the event of severe weather. The company also recommends that customers have a storm plan in place for their homes or businesses.

This year, Tampa Electric makes it easier than ever for customers to manage storm-related power outages from the palm of their hand – using the mobile device of their choice:

  • Power UpdatesSM is Tampa Electric’s free service to keep customers informed about their electric service. Customers can report outages online or by text and receive updates via text, email and phone.
  • The outage map at tampaelectric.com/outagemap helps customers monitor and track outages in their neighborhood. The map displays the cause, status and estimated restoration time.
  • A video explaining Tampa Electric’s restoration process is available on YouTube .
  • With e-Bill, you can access and pay your monthly bill from your smart phone. Save the cost of a stamp and never worry about delays in mail delivery due to severe weather.

Hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, is a particularly vulnerable time for the system of wires and equipment generating and delivering electricity to homes and businesses. Severe storms can damage Tampa Electric’s energy production and delivery systems, and power outages are not uncommon.

Tampa Electric invests more than $56 million annually in a 10-point plan to harden the system against severe weather, which includes infrastructure replacement, tree trimming and pole inspections. In 2013, these efforts included:

  • Inspecting almost 50,000 wooden poles for strength and physical condition.
  • Hardening 1,181 structures including 925 structure replacements and 256 sets of insulators, during the company’s annual maintenance of the transmission system.
  • Trimming tree limbs and branches from approximately one-fourth of the system, as part of our four-year vegetation management program.

Tampa Electric wants customers to be prepared

Tampa Electric encourages all of its customers to have a personal storm plan in place for their home or business. Visit the Storm Safety page on tampaelectric.com for tips, restoration information and additional guidance.

Tampa Electric recommends that customers with special needs call their county’s special needs registry office to pre-register with a local response team. The response teams provide aid to persons who require special assistance during evacuations and sheltering because of physical, mental or sensory disabilities. Those offices can be reached at the following numbers: (813) 307-8063 in Hillsborough County, (863) 298-7027 in Polk County, (727) 847-8137 in Pasco County and (727) 464-3800 in Pinellas County.

Reporting emergency and non-emergency power outages

Residential and commercial customers are encouraged to call Tampa Electric’s dedicated toll-free automated power outage phone system at 1-877-588-1010 to report a power outage or electric emergency.

Our automated phone system works in conjunction with our computer-based Outage Management System to quickly and efficiently identify the problem areas on our system. For all other inquiries, customers should use the following numbers:

  • (813) 223-0800 inside Hillsborough County
  • (863) 299-0800 in Polk County
  • (888) 223-0800 (toll-free) outside Hillsborough County or out of state

In addition to the automated outage reporting system, customers can report outages online at tampaelectric.com/outages or by texting OUT to 35069. Our free Power Updates service keeps customers informed about their electric service.

Tampa Electric also will use Facebook facebook.com/tampaelectric and Twitter twitter.com/tampaelectric to keep customers informed about outage restoration.

Updating customer contact information

To fully use the automated power outage phone system, Tampa Electric recommends that customers update the phone numbers associated with their account at tampaelectric.com. The system can store two numbers, so be sure to include the phones you would most likely use to call us. The system can recognize customers’ phone numbers or Tampa Electric account numbers and match them to the address when you call, helping the company locate outages quickly.

Electrical safety guidelines

As with all its activities, safety is always Tampa Electric’s No. 1 priority after a storm.

Following a storm, Tampa Electric teams patrol the electric system to locate problems. Customers can enhance their safety and Tampa Electric’s restoration efforts by observing the following guidelines:

  • Stay away from any downed power lines. Downed lines do not have to pop and snap to be energized. Assume any downed power line is energized. Everyone should avoid contact with a downed line or any object – such as a tree branch, fence, vehicle or even water – that has come in contact with a downed power line.
  • Use portable generators safely. Do not connect a portable generator directly to a home circuit. Plug appliances directly to the generator. Connecting a generator to home circuits may cause power to flow to outside lines, called backfeed, which can pose life-threatening danger to restoration crews.
    • Also, portable generators must be properly ventilated. Do not use a generator inside a residence or any enclosed space, such as a garage, where deadly carbon monoxide gasses could build up.
  • In the event of an outage, prepare the home for power restoration. Customers should make sure their homes are ready to safely receive electricity once power has been restored. Make sure there are no flammable items on the stove, no irons left on or other potentially dangerous situations. Turn off as many appliances as possible that require electricity and turn them on one-by-one after power is restored. This causes less stress to the power system and ensures that all customers get restored without unnecessary delays. When leaving the home for an extended period, customers should switch off their power at the main breaker.

Tampa Electric , one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, is part of the TECO Energy family of companies. Tampa Electric serves almost 700,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE) is an energy-related holding company with regulated electric and gas utility operations in Florida through Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System . TECO Energy’s other major subsidiary, TECO Coal, owns and operates coal-production facilities in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

Media Contact
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CHERIE JACOBS
TECO Energy, Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas
TECO Energy, Inc.
702 N. Franklin Street
Tampa, Florida 33602
E-mail: cljacobs@tecoenergy.com Email Icon