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News Release

Tampa Electric is prepared to handle severe weather from Hurricane Irma

TAMPA, September 5, 2017

Tampa Electric is closely monitoring Hurricane Irma and is prepared to respond to severe weather that could affect Florida in coming days.

"Irma is a large and unpredictable storm," said Gordon Gillette, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. "While the path remains uncertain, we encourage our customers to begin making preparations now."

Tampa Electric's comprehensive storm plan is in place and we are ready for whatever Mother Nature brings our way:

  • Tampa Electric's crews are prepared to work around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.
  • With the help of lineman from other utilities, we are planning to more than triple the number of crews in the field to help restore power.
  • If the weather warrants, the company may increase staffing and extend available hours for weather-related calls and may ask for assistance from other utilities to take customer calls, if available.

This year, Tampa Electric has some new additions to our field fleet: seven Fold-Out Rigid Temporary Shelters (FORTS). They are portable command posts that provide temporary office space in the field, including internet access. In conjunction with our Mobile Command Center, the FORTS allow us to set up full incident bases in multiple locations – this helps get our storm leaders into the hardest-hit areas, which means a more efficient restoration effort.

Tampa Electric offers customers several ways to report power outages:

  • The fastest, easiest way to report an outage is to visit tecoaccount.com/outage.
  • Also, enroll in Power Updates from tecoaccount.com to text outage reports or get service updates via text, phone or email.
  • Update the phone number and email associated with your account at www.tecoaccount.com/yourprofile. This helps when you report an outage.
  • Residential and commercial customers may 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.

Customers can monitor and track outages in their neighborhoods through the outage map at tampaelectric.com/outagemap. The map displays the cause, status and estimated restoration time. Tampa Electric also will use Twitter @tampaelectric to keep customers informed about outage restoration.

The company also recommends that customers have a storm plan in place for their homes or businesses. It's important to prepare now for severe weather during a storm:

  • Keep basic items handy such as water, ready-to-eat food, first aid supplies, clothing, extra prescription medicines and cash (banks and ATMs may be closed during the storm).
  • Carry a Photo ID on you in case of evacuation.
  • Stock up on batteries, and keep flashlights and radios ready.

Tampa Electric would like to remind customers to be safe after a storm:

  • Remember to keep away from downed power lines and urge others to be extremely cautious.
  • Remember to use portable generators safely. Plug your appliances directly into the generator. DO NOT connect your portable generator into your home's circuits. Connecting your generator to the circuits may cause power to flow to outside lines, posing life-threatening danger to restoration crews.
  • Portable generators must not be taken into homes or any enclosed space (like a garage) where deadly carbon monoxide gases could build up.
  • Stay out of floodwaters, as they can hide energized power lines or put you at risk of drowning.

Tampa Electric invests more than $55 million annually in a 10-point plan to harden the system against severe weather, which includes infrastructure replacement, tree trimming and pole inspections. In 2016, Tampa Electric:

  • Inspected nearly 64,000 wooden poles for strength and physical condition.
  • Hardened more than 1,000 structures, including 940 structure replacements and nearly 150 sets of insulators, during the company's annual maintenance of the transmission system.
  • Upgraded nearly 6,000 distribution poles.
  • Trimmed tree limbs and branches from about one-fourth of the system – 1,300 miles – as part of our four-year vegetation management program.

Tampa Electric, one of Florida's largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 730,000 customers in West Central Florida. Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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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