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News Release

Tampa Electric stands ready for Hurricane Wilma

TAMPA, October 19, 2005

In preparation for restoration of electric service should Hurricane Wilma impact the area, Tampa Electric crews are standing by for action. Tampa Electric has comprehensive preparedness and response plans to restore service as safely and quickly as possible following a storm.

In addition to the numerous precautions area residents should take to protect their families and property, here are a few key tips:

  • Stay away from downed power lines. While some downed lines may spark and snap, others may not appear dangerous at all. Assume all downed lines are potentially hazardous. Avoid any objects in contact with a downed wire. A fence, tree limb, railroad track or even flood water in contact with an energized wire can conduct dangerous electricity a long distance. A special note – if you are in your car anywhere near a downed power line, DO NOT get out of the car. Water on the ground can conduct electricity and cause severe injury or death.
  • Use portable generators safely. DO NOT connect your portable generator to your home’s circuits. Plug your appliances directly into the generator. Connecting your generator to your home’s circuits may cause power to flow to outside lines, posing life-threatening danger to power restoration crews. Also, portable generators must NOT be taken into a residence or any enclosed space (including a closed garage) where deadly carbon monoxide gases could build up.
  • Tampa Electric call centers will be open. Customer service professionals will be on duty to handle any storm-related customer service needs. Also, there is no need to call more than once to report an outage or hazardous condition. Doing so will only tie up telephone lines and could prevent life-threatening power emergencies from being reported. Depending on the severity of the storm, service restoration could take hours, days or possibly weeks. Please be patient. Tampa Electric is committed to doing everything possible to restore service safely and quickly. Tampa Electric’s customer service numbers are (813) 223-0800 (Hillsborough County), (863) 299-0800 (Polk County) or 1-(888)-223-0800 (all other counties and out-of-state).
  • Get a telephone that plugs directly into the wall. If the power goes out, a cordless telephone will not work.
  • 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 electric system, both within and outside the home, and ensures that all customers get their power restored without unnecessary delays. Customers may want to leave their front porch light on to indicate when power is restored. When in doubt, or when leaving the home for an extended period, customers should switch off their power at the main breaker.

Tampa Electric 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.

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