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News Release

When your electric meter reading is estimated

TAMPA, August 18, 2005

Tampa Electric is always looking for ways to serve our rapidly-growing customer base as efficiently as possible. Sometimes our effort to balance numerous customer needs requires us to periodically estimate some customers’ electric meters, a practice used by electric utilities across the country.

Some reasons Tampa Electric may estimate customers’ meters are if we are unable to read the meter due to unsafe weather conditions; hurricane or other severe weather recovery; or access issues such as a locked gate, dangerous pets, overgrown shrubbery or an obstructed meter.

We use a multi-step calculation that takes into account daily changes in weather to help ensure the most accurate meter reading. Overall we are achieving accuracy within 5% of the actual kWh reading, which equals about 50 kWh on a 1,000 kWh bill.

By going to, customers can learn how to check their meters themselves, and compare their own readings to the ones listed on their bills.

Once an actual meter reading is made, any needed corrections are made to customer bills.

Many utilities around the country estimate their customers’ meters; some, in fact, estimate meters every other month as common practice.

Customers who want to gain more control over electric bills that can go up in the summer may want to consider using energy-saving practices in their home. In simple terms, many customers experience higher electric bills in the summer because they’re running air conditioning units much more than at other times of the year to stay cool. This uses more electricity, and as a result, your bill may be higher.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do in your home to help reduce your energy costs. Here are some simple tips to help you get started:

Throughout the house
• Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher.
• Turn off lights in rooms that are not being used.
• Use ceiling fans in occupied rooms only.
• Clean or replace air conditioning filters once a month.
• Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
• Have your ductwork checked for leaks.
• Check the attic insulation level and upgrade, if needed.
• Check for and seal leaks around doors, windows and other openings where drafts can occur.

In the kitchen
• When cooking or heating small amounts of food, use a microwave instead of a conventional stove.
• Replace worn-out door seals on refrigerators and freezers.
• To keep your refrigerator running efficiently, dust condenser coils, which are usually found at the back of the unit.

In the laundry room
• Always use the cold-water rinse cycle. Cold water gets clothes just as clean as warm water.
• Dry full loads of wash in succession to take advantage of retained heat.
• Clean your dryer’s lint filter after every load. Lint restricts airflow, and can pose a potential fire hazard.

For more energy-saving tips to help you cut down on electric bill costs, visit Tampa Electric’s Interactive Energy Home.

Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: TE), an integrated energy-related holding company with core businesses in the utility sector, complemented by a family of unregulated businesses. Tampa Electric Company is a regulated utility with both electric and gas divisions (Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System). Other subsidiaries are engaged in waterborne transportation, coal and synthetic fuel production and independent power.

Media Contact
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TECO Energy, Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas
TECO Energy, Inc.
702 N. Franklin Street
Tampa, Florida 33602
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