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News Release

Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas tips for storm readiness

TAMPA, August 12, 2004

Hundreds of skilled linemen and tree-trimming crews from neighboring states are en route to the Tampa Bay area. In preparation for restoration of electric service should Hurricane Charley impact the area, these crews will be ready for action to reinforce Tampa Electric's crews.

Both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas have comprehensive preparedness and response plans to restore service as quickly and safely as possible following a storm. In addition to the numerous precautions area residents can 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 limbs, railroad track or even flood water in contact with an energized wire can conduct dangerous electricity a long distance.
  • If either a portable or permanently installed emergency generator is connected to your home’s electrical system, use a throw-over switch (consult with a licensed electrical contractor). This is important because if it is not done, the generator will backfeed electricity to power lines that may be down in a neighbor's yard or a line that is being repaired by one of our utility crews. This can cause a fatal electrical shock to someone in the neighborhood, or to a
    utility worker.
  • In order to minimize possible damage to underground equipment from the storm surge and salt water intrusion, Tampa Electric may turn off electricity to circuits that feed Tampa’s central business district, Harbor Island and Davis Islands.
  • Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas 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, line down or smell of gas.
  • Do not turn off your gas supply at the main meter. That valve should be turned on or off by emergency utility personnel only.
  • You may turn off gas to individual appliances at the supply valve near each unit. Most city codes now call for a small supply turnoff valve to be located within six feet of each gas appliance. Locate the turnoff valve for each of your gas appliances and familiarize yourself with its operation before a storm occurs.
  • Immediately call the gas company if you smell natural gas (odor of rotten eggs) or see a broken gas line.
  • If the power goes out a cordless telephone will not work. Get a touch-tone telephone that plugs directly into the wall.
  • Tampa Electric has booked more than 600 hotel reservations in the Tampa area to accommodate the line crews from out of state who will be here to assist in service restoration. Room reservations matter to properly house the crews.
  • Keep your freezer closed. Consume perishable and canned foods first.
  • Depending on the severity of the storm, service restoration will take hours or possibly days.  Please be patient. Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas are committed to doing everything possible to restore service quickly and safely as possible.
  • Contact telephone numbers:
    Tampa Electric Company – (813) 223-0800 or toll free (800) 223-0800.
    Peoples Gas – (813) 275-3700 or toll free (877) 832-6747.

Tampa Electric is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: TE), a diversified, energy-related holding company based in Tampa, Florida. Other TECO Energy subsidiaries include Peoples Gas System, TECO Wholesale Generation, TECO Transport and TECO Coal.

Media Contact
For journalist inquiries only:

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