Reliability improvements coming soon to a street near you


When it comes to providing reliable energy, there’s no off season.

Tampa Electric’s Storm Protection Plan (SPP) team works day-in and day-out to strengthen our system against high winds, flooding and tree contact – all storm weather impacts that cause outages.

Some of these hardening improvements happen behind the scenes at places like our substations. But retrofitting overhead electric lines with stronger more storm-resistant poles on busy corridors and converting overhead electric lines to underground in existing neighborhoods is a challenging process that requires a lot of communication with customers.

That’s why Tampa Electric’s SPP team members have been meeting and listening with neighbors and community leaders throughout west central Florida to talk about reliability projects coming soon to their respective neighborhoods.

In Tampa, residents were encouraged to learn about a plan to underground targeted streets in their neighborhood. They discussed important topics such as flooding and safety.

“Safety of our employees, contractors and customers is a top priority and all of our equipment meets applicable safety requirements.” said Project Director, Dave Plusquellic. “We really value customers sharing their personal experiences and firsthand knowledge about issues like flooding.   Each project is uniquely designed to address challenges like these in the field.”

Construction was already underway on some projects when Tampa Electric SPP team members joined the east Tampa Community Redevelopment Area to answer questions about the overall SPP program.

Attendees asked how projects were prioritized and which lines were chosen for undergrounding.

“What’s most important to know is that there is no favoritism in the selection process,” answered Gretchen Dillman, SPP Communications Coordinator. “A rigorous and disciplined analysis of our entire system was conducted to determine which sections should be prioritized for undergrounding. So sections where we anticipate seeing the biggest improvement in outages during extreme weather events and those that impact the largest number of customers are going to be higher on the priority list.”

A number of projects are also in motion in Winter Haven. One significant storm hardening project includes replacing transmission poles along Cypress Gardens Blvd. Many Polk County residents still recall the outages and damage caused by Hurricane Irma winds. In addition, Cypress Gardens is a major thoroughfare both for cars and electricity, making it a critical line to strengthen. The work Tampa Electric is doing will help prevent outages when extreme weather events happen.

Tampa Electric’s SPP continually evaluates new storm hardening projects that have been identified and prioritized based on their projected ability to improve reliability during storms. The team reaches out directly to customers who are impacted by undergrounding and storm hardening improvements on their street as new projects are evaluated.

To learn more about our Storm Protection Plan and Tampa Electric’s efforts to ensure customers have reliable energy, visit our SPP webpage.

Project Director Dave Plusquellic spoke to concerned neighbors in the west Tampa neighborhood of Sunset Park about a project to move rear overhead lines underground to the front of properties.

SPP Communications Coordinator Gretchen Dillman presented and answered questions at the East Tampa Community Redevelopment Area Board and public meeting this March.

This map of the downtown Winter Haven area shows storm protection hardening projects that have already been completed in green, and those that are coming soon in red.