At Tampa Electric, safety comes first – for you and for our team members who work to keep the power flowing to your community. With our comprehensive plans to restore power, our year-round commitment to hardening our system and the way we recognize the priority of your neighborhood's needs during and after severe weather, our focus is on our customers.
If your electric service system is damaged due to severe weather, it is Tampa Electric's responsibility to handle actual repairs to service and the responsibility of individual customers to repair other components.
To help you and your family prepare for hurricane season, download and print these preparedness tips and handy checklist. Take time to share the information with members of your family so you will know what to do when our area experiences stormy weather. The better you plan, the better off you and your family will be when a storm hits.
Additional safety guidance
As we make safety our top priority, we ask that you do the same. Please follow these critical electrical safety guidelines:
- Stay away from downed power lines. Always assume that a downed power line is energized, and move away to safety.
- Stay out of floodwaters. Floodwaters can hide energized power lines or other hazards, or put you at risk of drowning.
- Caution: Use portable generators safely. DO NOT connect a portable generator to home circuits. Plug appliances directly to the generator. Connecting a generator to home circuits may cause power to flow to outside lines, posing life-threatening danger to restoration crews. Also, portable generators must NOT be taken into a residence or any enclosed space where deadly carbon monoxide gases could build up. (Note: this should not be done in a closed garage.)
Our storm plan
To prepare for severe weather in general and, in particular, for hurricane season – which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 – we follow a 10-point storm hardening project developed by Florida's investor-owned electric utilities in conjunction with the Florida Public Service Commission. This comprehensive, year-round plan includes companywide response drills, enhancements to customer service, upgrades to our equipment and tree trimming in accordance with National Arbor Day standards to protect the health of trees growing near power infrastructure.
Our power restoration work in the community begins when it's safe for our crews to be outside (typically when winds are less than 40 mph) and focuses first on facilities critical to public health and safety. We then work to get the power back on for the most customers in the least amount of time. If a widespread outage requires additional help, Tampa Electric's membership in the Southeastern Electric Exchange provides support from other utilities. In turn, we will send crews to help restore power for other communities in need.
We're ready to roll
A critical part of our restoration plan is our 35-foot mobile command center for Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas. It's ready to roll in any type of emergency, whether right here in Florida due to a hurricane or elsewhere as part of our participation in the Southeastern Electric Exchange's mutual assistance pact among utilities. Watch the video below to get a close-up look at what it brings to the community.
All communities we serve are equal to us. During a widespread power outage, our goal is to restore power to the largest number of customers in the shortest possible time. Severe weather can bring with it a lot of unpredictable factors, and we focus on safety – for our team members and you – above all else. Before our crews can go outside to begin repair work, we must make sure conditions are safe and that winds are below 40 mph.
When large areas lose power, especially if severe weather is ongoing, we take a priority restoration approach to restoring service. Here's how it works:
- Electric service is restored to critical services facilities first – hospitals, disaster centers and main police and fire stations. This enables these places to help with other storm-related problems or injuries.
- Water and sewer installations are next.
- After that, we focus on communication service providers and facilities providing important public services such as supermarkets, home improvement/building supply centers, insurance facilities, etc.
- Then we repair electrical circuits that provide power to the largest group of customers, followed by the remainder of the circuits until the power is back on for all our customers.
It's possible that your neighbors' power may come back on while yours is still out. Because of the widespread damage a storm can cause, crews might need to make repairs at multiple spots along a single electric service line. As repairs are completed, some customers may receive power while others may still be out of service. Sometimes, different customers have different service lines, even within the same neighborhood. If you are on the same service line as your neighbor, you may also have damage to your meter that is interrupting electric service to your home. This diagram shows you what meter-related damage the customer is responsible for repairing and what Tampa Electric is responsible for fixing.