Storm Ready on the Hill

Tampa Electric team members (L-R) Blake Turner, Chip Whitworth, Phillip Reynolds and Tony Faison with CongressmanScott Franklin (R-FL) in middle.

It’s a beautiful thing when Republicans and Democrats can came come together and work collaboratively for the greater good. The unique scene recently played out on Capitol Hill and Tampa Electric is proud to have a starring role.

For the first time, Tampa Electric and industry counterparts worked with our trade association, Edison Electric Institute, as well as the newly constituted bipartisan Congressional Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Caucus to showcase all the incredible work we do before, during and after storm season on behalf of our customers.

“The lawmakers were very pleased to see Tampa Electric and to learn about the programs we have in place that help grid resiliency and storm response,” said Vice President of Electric Delivery Chip Whitworth. “They are very interested in grid resiliency, especially relative to system restoration. They clearly understand the importance of electricity restoration when it comes to public safety, civil stability and the overall care for all humanity.”

That compassion for customers is likely what drove up attendance. “We had eight members of the Florida congressional delegation - from all over the state - come by the event, which is a huge number considering how busy they are and how hectic a day it was,” recalled Mike Sewell, Vice President of Federal Affairs. “They spoke directly with Blake Turner, Tony Faison, Philip Reynolds and Chip and asked a lot of really good questions about the conditions that team members, like Blake, find themselves in - working in the field after a storm to get the lights back on. We were really thrilled with the turnout given the fact that on any given day in Washington, D.C. there are a lot of demands of legislators’ time.”

Standing on stage with Team Tampa Electric were representatives from BlockEnergy™. The cast presented the successes of their Microgrid project during Hurricane Ian. “When most folks’ lights went out, the homes that had that Microgrid technology kept their lights on,” said Mike.

Blake and Chip speaking with Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL).

Not only did Tampa Electric co-star with Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Entergy and Southern Company at the inaugural event, but the partnership between industry and labor also took center stage that day. More than 140 members of Congress signed bipartisan resolutions to salute our nation’s lineworkers and recognize July 10 as National Lineworker Appreciation Day.

Needless to say, the unity and collaboration between representatives of the electric power industry, labor organizations and policymakers stole the show!

“There is so much partisanship now. There are very few issues where you can find people eager to work across the political aisle and this was a really good example of something that brings everyone together,” said Mike. “For our elected officials and the utilities, we’re all in this together trying to keep lights on for our customers and constituents, and the event reminded me a lot of our mutual assistance program where utility workers put their differences aside and focus on the most important thing which is delivering reliable service.

The Tampa Electric team did an incredible job representing us, and we couldn’t have done the event without them.”

The Tampa Electric team listening to Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL).

“I am so very proud of the Tampa Electric team that represented the company in D.C.,” said Chip. “Our team members’ kindness, expertise and willingness to engage delivered the right message about Tampa Electric’s preparedness for disaster recovery and our ongoing commitment to grid resiliency and our customers.”

Needless to say, Tampa Electric is already planning to make a repeat performance on Capitol Hill for next storm season, so stay tuned!