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News Release

Tampa Electric ready for storm season with new outage management system

TAMPA, June 3, 2002

If a powerful thunderstorm knocks out your lights Tampa Electric’s service restoration professionals are ready to get your power back on, swiftly and safely. But with thousands of miles of wire, how do these workers find the precise source of the problem? A new outage management system will help.

Tampa Electric’s energy distribution system is a complex grid of powerlines, transformers and services for delivering electricity to your home or business. Distribution system operators monitor the system and dispatch troublemen (first-response workers who respond quickly to diagnose and repair small problems or request support for larger problems) and line crews to fix outages from storms and other events.

This year, Tampa Electric has a new resource for managing outages and restoring service. Referred to simply as the outage management system, or OMS, the system tracks, identifies and manages customer outages by generating work orders for troublemen and line crews.

The benefits of this new OMS are clear to Tampa Electric distribution system staff.

“Before, the old system could tell us the vicinity of the outage, but not the exact location of the outage,” said Larkin Laney, supervisor-Distribution Service Operators. “We had to physically group outage calls by location to pinpoint the location and source of an outage,” said Laney.

That often meant sending a troubleman on a hunt for the source of an outage, which could increase restoration time.

The new system reduces human error through automation. It groups outage calls by location, checks them against a detailed circuit model database, and predicts where the problem is. Updated mobile computers in their trucks allow troublemen to tap this streaming information. They now have access to the same information in the field as the dispatcher does at the service desk.

The system benefits extend far beyond service restoration. Multiple Tampa Electric departments benefit from the OMS by accessing and exchanging more information faster.

Customer Service professionals enter customers’ outage calls and street light outage requests into OMS, using the Windows-based Call Taking software.
Meter Operations uses the system to dispatch and complete orders for checking meters and addressing problems.

Business & Industry representatives use it to get outage information for their customers.

In the outlying service areas – Eastern, Western, Central, South Hillsborough, Plant City, Dade City and Winter Haven – planners, managers and engineers use the system for managing crews, working trouble jobs and researching and reporting outage-related information.

One additional module in development with testing planned for later this year uses Global Positioning System (GPS) data. All troubleman trucks will have GPS receivers. Dispatchers will eventually be able to check GPS data to see who is closest to handle an outage. Or, if a troubleman doesn’t respond to a radio call or hits his emergency button, the GPS data will lead rescuers to his exact location.

“The new OMS has many advantages,” said Tom Hernandez, vice president-Energy Delivery. “Mainly, it will help us speed our response to outages, and increase access to outage information. It’s a long-term investment in boosting our reliability and serving customers better.”

For additional media materials, information about Tampa Electric's storm plans, or to obtain one of Tampa Electric's storm season brochures, Zap Cap System visit www.tampaelectric.com.

For more information contact Ross Bannister at (813) 228-4945, or visit online at www.tampaelectric.com.

Tampa Electric is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: TE), a diversified energy-related holding company headquartered in Tampa. Tampa Electric has supplied the Tampa Bay area with electricity since 1899. Its West Central service area covers approximately 2,000 square miles, serving more than 550,000 residential and commercial customers with reliable power and value-added services. In addition to Tampa Electric Company, TECO Energy's principal businesses include Peoples Gas System, TECO Power Services, TECO Transport, TECO Coal, TECO Coalbed Methane, and TECO Solutions.

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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