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Tampa Electric marks Arbor Day with new online tree safety guidelines

TAMPA, January 18, 2005

Tampa Electric today announced a new Internet option to help customers learn how to get the most out of the trees they plant this Arbor Day - with safety as the top priority.

Users can access an interactive feature with recommendations on which trees thrive best in a Central Florida climate, and where to plant them on your property. One of the most important aspects of planting trees is making sure the trees don’t interfere with power lines, which can run the risk of causing power outages, fires and other dangerous situations. The site also offers a downloadable, easy-reference planting guide.

“We strongly encourage anyone planning to plant a tree to keep safety in mind,” said Tom Hernandez, vice president of Energy Delivery and Customer Services. “Be sure and look up. Plant trees well away from power lines. As we learned during the hurricanes last year, trees and power lines just don't mix.”

As Floridians mark Arbor Day, which in Florida this year happens on Friday, January 21, Tampa Electric recommends these safety guidelines for spring planting:

  • Avoid planting large trees under utility lines. Plant shrubs or understory trees instead.
  • Plant bushes and trees at least 10 feet away from pad-mounted equipment (the green boxes on the ground).
  • Before you dig on your property, call “Call Before You Dig” at (800) 432-4770 two (2) full days before you begin any digging projects—it’s the law. Contact with an underground electric or gas line can be life-threatening. These lines are sometimes located just a foot underground. “Call Before You Dig” is a free service that will mark the location of any buried lines.

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.

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TECO Energy, Inc.
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Tampa, Florida 33602
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