When we installed downtown Tampa’s first electric streetlight on Franklin Street, crowds gathered and reporters wrote about the “light show.”
Today, most people don’t think much about the flip of a switch or the turn of a dimmer.
But we do, so you don’t have to.
Since that first streetlight, all our lives have been immeasurably brightened by the power of electricity. And now, in 2024, we feel a surge of pride and gratitude as we mark our 125th anniversary right here in the town where it all began.
What started as a flicker of innovation on a downtown street grew into a beacon, lighting the way for progress in our West Central Florida communities.
Points of Light
Through the years we've seen tremendous advancements in technology and a changing energy landscape. We’ve been at the forefront of these changes, constantly innovating to meet the evolving needs of our growing, fast-paced communities. From transitioning to renewable energy sources to the integration of smart grids, our commitment to progress – and our customers – is always on.
Here’s just a few examples:
- In 1899, we had 28 employees and 1,200 customers. Today we have 830,000 customers and nearly 2,500 employees. Each year, our team members devote tens of thousands of hours volunteering to make our communities brighter.
- Far from the days of that first downtown streetlight, we now have 200,000 energy-efficient LED streetlights, some with smart city capabilities.
- In just the past 10 years, our energy mix has changed dramatically. Our use of coal is down from 51 percent to 3 percent. Our solar generation is up from zero to 14 percent, with plans to add more. We generate the highest amount of solar energy per customer of any utility in the state. That saves our customers money, as do our more than 30 free energy-saving programs.
- In the 1980s, our Big Bend power plant developed an unusual following – of manatees and people who love to watch manatees. The gentle giants gather in the warm, clean water used to cool the plant. What began as a small parking lot, then a trailer, eventually became our renowned, wildly popular and completely free Manatee Viewing Center.
- In 2023 we completed the modernization of the same power plant, which will save customers more than $700 million over its 30-year life, while improving the land, water and air at Big Bend.
- Electricity is nothing if it’s not “on.” Today we proudly deliver 99.98 percent service reliability to our customers.
At the heart of our 125-year history is a deep connection with the communities we serve. We've powered homes and businesses while fueling dreams and aspirations. Through numerous partnerships and community outreach programs, we strive to give back to the area that has been our home for more than a century.
That will never stop.
The next chapter in our story will be one of continued innovation, sustainability and community empowerment. We will do our part to ensure our communities remain shining examples of progress for generations to come.
Here’s to another century of lighting the way!