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Tampa Electric helps customers stay warm and save energy during cold weather

Ready for the increased demand, the company offers energy-saving guidance and programs for customers in need

TAMPA, February 4, 2009

With unusually low temperatures in the forecast, Tampa Electric is prepared for the projected increased demand and recommends customers follow its energy-saving guidance as a way to stay warm while using energy wisely. In addition to its cold weather energy-saving tips, the company offers multiple programs designed to benefit low-income, elderly and disabled customers.

Through Tampa Electric’s forecasting efforts, the company is able to plan and prepare accordingly to accommodate peak periods of energy use. However, in cold weather, as with any type of inclement weather, occasional outages are possible. Typically, they are small, localized and repaired quickly.

During cold weather there is an increase in energy usage. Customers can save energy while staying warm by following these cold weather energy-efficiency tips:

  • Home heating will have the biggest impact on your energy bill. Set your heating equipment’s thermostat at 70 degrees or lower.
  • Keep the fan of your central heating unit set to "auto."
  • Lower the thermostat on your electric water heater to 120-140 degrees, and limit hot water usage.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use.
  • Change or clean your furnace or central heating unit filter once a month. 
  • Check the attic insulation level and upgrade, if needed.
  • Have your ductwork checked for leakage. Seal all leaks to prevent energy from escaping.
  • Check for and seal leaks around doors, windows and other openings where drafts can occur.

Customers are encouraged to consider the following safety tips when using space heaters:

  • Don’t leave your space heater on all night: the fire hazard is too great. Use extra blankets instead.
  • If you use an extension cord, be sure it’s heavy duty and in good condition. And, make sure the cord is rated to handle the power your space heater requires. Don’t use household-type extension cords with your space heaters.
  • Keep your space heater away from drapes, furniture and other flammable materials.
  • Be certain your home wiring is designed to handle your space heater. If you have any doubts, contact a licensed electrician.
  • Avoid using your space heater in the bathroom. If you must, keep it as far away as possible from the shower, tub and sink. Never touch the heater when you’re wet.
  • Make sure your heater has an automatic switch that turns off the electric current if the unit is tipped over.

To make it easier for low-income customers to save energy during very cold or hot weather, Tampa Electric offers its Low-Income Weatherization Program in partnership with The Centre for Women. Customers who qualify through The Centre for Women receive free energy-saving items and services designed to make their homes more energy efficient, particularly during especially cold or hot weather.

Customers wanting to help senior low-income and/or medically disabled customers pay their energy-related bills may make a tax-deductible contribution through our SHARE program. Those wishing to contribute to the SHARE program may make a one-time contribution or a monthly pledge by check or money order for any amount payable to Salvation Army Share, c/o Tampa Electric, PO Box 111, Tampa Florida 33601. Donations are collected by Tampa Electric and forwarded to the Salvation Army to help eligible senior clients. To determine if you qualify to receive assistance as a SHARE recipient, call (813) 226-0055.

Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) providers that may be able to offer assistance to customers with their electric bill include:

South Shores Community Resource Center (813) 671-7647
Lee Davis Neighborhood Service Center (813) 272-5220
Plant City Neighborhood Service Center (813) 757-3871
West Tampa Neighborhood Service Center (813) 272-5074
St. Joseph North Town & Country (813) 886-6177
University Community Resource Center (813) 975-2153

Agriculture & Labor Program, Inc. (863) 956-3491
Family Fundamentals Women’s Resource Lakeland (863) 686-1221
Catholic of Central Florida (863) 686-7153
Women Resource Center Winter Haven (863) 294-5218
Living Hope Ministries (863) 984-4375 Ext. 232

Pasco County Human Services (352) 521-5173

Pinellas County Urban League (727) 327-2081
Pinellas County Opportunity Council (727) 327-8690

For more information on Tampa Electric’s energy-efficiency programs, energy-savings tips and social services, visit

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