New Storm Protection Program will mean fewer – and shorter – outages after severe weather
TAMPA, May 26, 2021
Hurricane season starts June 1, and Tampa Electric is preparing for whatever Mother Nature has in store. The company’s year-round preparations enable Tampa Electric to handle the potential impacts of hurricanes and widespread power outages.
Tampa Electric invested more than $50 million last year to strengthen the system against severe weather, which includes infrastructure replacement, tree trimming and pole inspections. In 2020, Tampa Electric: • Strengthened or replaced over 2,000 distribution power poles. • Strengthened more than 300 transmission structures. • Inspected more than 25,000 wooden power poles. • Trimmed tree limbs and branches from more than 2,000 miles, including over 3,500 hot spots – as part of our comprehensive vegetation-management program.
Hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, is a particularly vulnerable time for the system of wires and equipment generating and delivering electricity to homes and businesses. Severe storms can damage Tampa Electric’s energy production and delivery systems, and power outages are not uncommon.
Tampa Electric’s comprehensive storm plan is in place and crews are ready to help restore power as safely and quickly as possible in the event of severe weather. The company also recommends that customers have a storm plan in place for their homes or businesses.
For 2021, the company is investing about $120 million to increase resiliency – which includes more trees trimmed, more poles replaced, and more power lines installed underground.
Tampa Electric’s new Storm Protection Program will help strengthen the system to better withstand extreme weather events, such as hurricanes. This program will mean fewer outages for customers, and shorter outages after extreme weather events. The plan includes: • Converting certain overhead lines to underground, averaging 100 to 150 miles per year. • Trimming trees more frequently. • Making substations more resilient by raising some equipment or building flood walls. • Installing stronger, more storm-resistant poles and improved technology along certain power lines.
The company has begun installing new technology that, when complete, will make restoration more efficient and faster, including: • Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) is the foundation for future technologies. When complete, this system will communicate with smart meters to pinpoint the location of outages, which will speed restoration. • Later this year, Tampa Electric will implement new digital damage-assessment tools. The new system will allow assessors to communicate damage in real time and will automatically order equipment for repairs. With more accurate damage assessment, the company will be able to predict restoration times more quickly, crews will be directed more efficiently, and restoration will be quicker.
The ongoing pandemic is not expected to affect restoration. Tampa Electric will take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of customers, employees and out-of-state crews who may help support power restoration after severe weather.
Tampa Electric wants customers to be preparedTampa Electric encourages all customers to have a personal storm plan in place for their home or business. Visit tampaelectric.com/stormcenter for tips, restoration information and additional guidance.
• Register in advance on tecoaccount.com to create an online profile and better manage your account online. • Once registered, update your contact information (phone number and email address) at tecoaccount.com. Our automated system will match your information to your service address when you call or go online to report an outage so that we can serve you better. • Go to tecoaccount.com/notifications and sign up for free outage notifications. Once enrolled, you’ll be able to receive updates on the status of our service as you wish – text, email and/or phone calls. • Bookmark our outage map page at tampaelectric.com/outagemap. Here, you’ll be able to search for an address to see the location of a power outage and estimated restoration time.
Visit your county’s emergency management website to determine your flood zone, your hurricane evacuation zone, get flood depth data, flood insurance information, or help with property flood protection for residents.
Assistance is available to those with special needs during storm-related emergencies. Register for special needs disaster assistance. If you or someone in your home have special needs and may require help locating a shelter and transportation, now is the time to contact your county’s emergency management agency to arrange for assistance.
Reporting emergency and non-emergency power outagesTampa Electric offers customers several ways to report power outages or other electric emergencies and encourages customers to create a contact in their mobile devices to store this important information along with their account numbers: • Log into your online account at tecoaccount.com to report the outage with one click. • Visit tampaelectric.com/outage and report your outage. You’ll need your account number (found on your billing statement). • Text OUT and your account number, meter number or phone number to 27079. Please note this is a new number for texting outages. • Call 1-877-588-1010, Tampa Electric’s dedicated toll-free automated power outage phone system.
Monitoring outages and getting updatesHere's how you can get the latest updates about the status of your electric service. • Sign up for outage notifications through tecoaccount.com. You can receive texts, emails, and/or phone calls regarding your service and other important information. • Text OUT and your account number, meter number or phone number to 27079. Please note this is a new number for texting outages. Text UPDATE or STATUS for updates on your reported outage. • Visit our outage map to track outages in your neighborhood. You can learn the cause and restoration status in addition to the number of customers affected and the estimated restoration time.
Tampa Electric also will use Facebook facebook.com/tampaelectric and Twitter @tampaelectric to keep customers informed about outage restoration.
For non-outage inquiries, customers should use the following numbers: • (813) 223-0800 inside Hillsborough County • (863) 299-0800 in Polk County • (888) 223-0800 (toll-free) outside Hillsborough County or out of state
Electrical safety guidelinesAs with all its activities, safety is always Tampa Electric’s No. 1 priority after a storm. Following a storm, Tampa Electric teams patrol the electric system to locate problems. Customers can enhance their safety and Tampa Electric’s restoration efforts by observing the following guidelines: • Stay away from any downed power lines. Downed lines do not have to pop and snap to be energized. Assume all downed power lines are energized. Everyone should avoid contact with a downed line or any object – such as a tree branch, fence, vehicle or even water – that has come in contact with a downed power line. • Use portable generators safely. Do not connect a portable generator directly to a home circuit. Plug appliances directly into the generator. Connecting a generator to home circuits may cause power to flow to outside lines, called backfeed, which can pose life-threatening danger to restoration crews. o Also, portable generators must be properly ventilated. Do not use a generator inside a residence or any enclosed space, such as a garage or covered porch, where deadly carbon monoxide gasses could build up. • In the event of an outage, prepare the home for power restoration. Customers should make sure their homes are ready to safely receive electricity once power has been restored. Make sure there are no flammable items on the stove, no irons left on or other potentially dangerous situations. Turn off as many appliances as possible that require electricity and turn them on one-by-one after power is restored. This causes less stress to the power system and ensures that all customers get restored without unnecessary delays. When leaving the home for an extended period, customers should switch off their power at the main breaker.
Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 800,000 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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