Tampa Electric Hurricane Frances update: 156,000 customers restored overnight
TAMPA, September 6, 2004
Tampa Electric this morning reported that 194,000 customers are without power following Hurricane Frances. This number includes both 156,000 customers restored since the storm began impacting Tampa Electric’s service territory, as well as additional outages experienced during the same period. The maximum number of customers out at one time was 268,000.
TECO Energy President and COO John Ramil said, “Hurricane Frances has been vastly different – and more challenging – than Hurricane Charley. Where Charley was in our service area for a few hours, Frances so far has been with us for two days.
”Ramil added that Hurricane Frances’ impact is spread throughout Tampa Electric’s service area, whereas Charley impacted mainly Polk County.
As a result of Hurricane Frances’ delayed departure from its service territory, Tampa Electric has not yet been able to safely deploy its full restoration team. Full restoration efforts are expected to begin later today, once Frances moves further into the gulf and weather conditions improve.
Vice President-Energy Delivery Tom Hernandez said, “I’m extremely proud of the work our people did overnight during periods of low winds. We managed to restore power to 156,000 customers, even as the storm moved through our system, affecting additional customers.
”The company began its detailed damage assessment this morning to determine the damage to its system. Once weather conditions are safe for helicopter flight, an aerial survey of the Tampa Electric system will be conducted as a complement to the detailed ground-level assessment. A more detailed description of Hurricane Frances’ impact to Tampa Electric will be completed within 24 hours.
“We remain poised and ready to begin restoring all our customers. As soon as the weather allows us to do so safely, our full team will be deployed to restore power as quickly as possible,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez estimates that power restoration could take 10 to 14 days once full restoration begins, including assistance requested from 1,100 people from out-of-state utilities and additional contractors.
Customers are thanked in advance for their patience as crews work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.
Normal business operations for Tampa Electric (new service requests, billing inquiries and so forth) are suspended until restoration efforts are well underway.
The company is aware of the widespread outages its service area and will be working to restore all of its customers. If after 48 to 72 hours, customers are still without power, they should then contact Tampa Electric at 813-223-0800, (toll-free) 888-223-0800 or (Polk County) 863-299-0800.
Customers with life-threatening power situations, such as downed power lines, should call the company’s emergency line immediately at 1-877-503-6445, or call 911.
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.