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News Release

Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas prepare for Hurricane Frances

TAMPA, September 2, 2004

With Hurricane Frances bearing down on Florida’s east coast, west coast-based Tampa Electric Company is preparing for a rapid and safe response to restore service quickly after the storm. In addition, Peoples Gas System, with customers located throughout the state, is also making preparation to deal with possible service interruptions after the storm.

“We expect Hurricane Frances to have an impact on our electric and gas customers’ service,” said Bill Cantrell, president of Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas. “We are preparing to deploy our resources as strategically as possible to quickly and safely return service to our customers.”

Tropical storm and possibly hurricane force winds are projected for Florida. Winds of such strength can cause damage to electrical distribution and transmission lines, circuits and substations, as well as gas delivery systems. Depending on the severity of the storm, service restoration could take days. Customers should prepare for possible lengthy service restoration times. Customers are asked in advance for their patience. Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas are committed to doing everything possible to restore service as quickly and safely as possible.

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:

Tampa Electric Tips

  • Stay away from downed power lines. Whiles 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 line. Fences, tree limbs, railroad tracks or even flood water in contact with energized line can conduct dangerous electricity a long distance.
  • Do not connect a portable generator into your home’s circuits. Plug appliances directly into the generator. Tying a generator into your home’s circuits can cause a dangerous “backfeed” of electricity. Backfeed poses a serious electrical shock hazard to crews working to restore power.
  • If the power goes out a cordless telephone will not work. Get a touch-tone telephone that plugs directly into the wall.
  • Keep your freezer closed. Consume perishable and canned foods first.
  • Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas call centers will be open during the storm. Customer Service Professionals will be on duty to handle any storm-related customer service needs. Some normal business operations and services may be delayed due to our response and reassignment of crews following hurricanes Charley and Frances. We appreciate our customers' continued patience. Also, there is no need to call more than once to report an outage, line down or smell of gas.

Tampa Electric Customer Service numbers: Tampa (813) 223-0800, Polk County (863) 299-0800 or toll-free (888) 223-0800.

Peoples Gas Tips

  • Do not turn off your gas supply at the main meter. That valve should be turned on or off by emergency utility personnel only.
  • It is recommended that you do not turn your gas off. However, if you choose to do so, 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.
  • Immediately evacuate to another location if you smell a strong odor of natural gas (odor of rotten eggs) inside the home or building. Ventilate the area by opening windows or leaving a door open. Call the gas company from a telephone outside of the home or building. Additionally do not light any matches, turn on any light switches, or use the telephone. Any of these actions could ignite gas that may have accumulated.
  • If your home or business was flooded and the gas appliances were under water, do not attempt to operate the appliances. Contact your plumber or a qualified appliance service contractor. Or call your gas company, so they may assist you in locating a qualified appliance service contractor for a safety inspection.
  • In the event you are covering a damaged roof with a tarpaulin, do not cover the vent pipes of any natural gas appliances. Covering the vents can cause an accumulation of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas.
  • Before removing fallen trees, always call for the location of utility lines. Gas, electric, telephone, water, sewer and cable lines may be entangled in the root system of the fallen trees. Call 1-800-432-4770. The call and the location service are free.

Peoples Gas Customer Service number: statewide toll-free (877) 832-6747.

TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: TE) is an integrated energy-related holding company with core businesses in the utility sector, complemented by a family of unregulated businesses. Its principal subsidiary, 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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Tampa, Florida 33602
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