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News Release

Manatee are here!

TAMPA, January 21, 2004

The warm water canal at Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center is chock-full of the nomadic marine mammals, and a visit there is a fascinating, fun, free adventure for people.

Manatees return each year, drawn to the comfort and safety of the Big Bend Power Station warm water discharge canal. Cold weather motivates the endangered Florida manatee to seek the protection of the canal's warm water. When Gulf or bay water temperatures drop below 68 degrees - as it is now - it can be life threatening to the gentle giants. So with the temperature drop the warm water canal is now filled with a lively throng of the charming creatures.

Located near the Big Bend power plant in Apollo Beach, the Manatee Viewing Center will remain open daily through April 15, 2004. Manatee Viewing Center visitors can get a close-up look at the endangered Florida manatee, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, from an observation pier and platform.

In addition, a self-guided nature trail and tidal flat walkway allows visitors to see native Florida birds, fish and other wildlife in their natural habitats, "Florida Friendly" landscape design and butterfly gardens.

The Manatee Viewing Center's Environmental Education building features displays on the physical and biological characteristics of manatees. The building also includes an area that provides visitors with an in-depth look at how electricity is produced at Tampa Electric power plants.

The area was designated an official State of Florida manatee sanctuary in 1986.

More than one million visitors have flocked to the Manatee Viewing Center, which has become a worldwide attraction.

The center and gift shop are open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Reservations are required for large groups.

Take Interstate 75 to Apollo Beach, FL, exit #246. Turn west on Big Bend Road (C.R. 672). Travel 2.5 miles west to the curve intersection of Big Bend and Dickman Roads. The Manatee Viewing Center entrance is on the right.

Additional information is provided on the Manatee Viewing Center Web site at Or, call (813) 228-4289.

Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE), a diversified holding company of energy-related businesses that include Peoples Gas System, TECO Power Services, TECO Transport, TECO Coal and TECO Solutions.

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