Tampa Electric seeing impact of Tropical Storm Colin – Alert #1
TAMPA, June 6, 2016
Tampa Electric has begun to see the effects of Tropical Storm Colin in West Central Florida.
At its peak so far, the storm caused 12,000 power outages for Tampa Electric customers, many of which have been restored. As of 4:30 p.m., more than 99 percent of Tampa Electric's customers had power, with the following weather-related power outages remaining:
- Hillsborough County: 6,627
- Pasco County: 4
- Pinellas County: 10
- Polk County: 13
The company expects strong winds to continue overnight, with the potential for localized flooding. More than 100 out-of-state utility workers are expected to arrive this evening to supplement Tampa Electric's crews and to help restore power overnight.
Tampa Electric invests more than $55 million annually in a 10-point plan to harden the electric system against severe weather, which includes infrastructure replacement, tree trimming and pole inspections. The company's year-round preparations enable crews to handle the potential impacts of severe weather and widespread power outages. Tampa Electric's comprehensive storm plan is in place and crews are ready to help restore power as safely and quickly as possible.
Tampa Electric strives to restore service in priority order. We focus on restoring facilities that are critical to public health and safety, such as hospitals, disaster centers and police and fire stations. Tampa Electric then focuses on repairs that will restore power to the largest number of customers in the shortest possible time.
Reporting emergency and non-emergency power outages Tampa Electric offers customers several ways to report power outages:
- Power UpdatesSM is Tampa Electric's free service to keep customers informed about their electric service. Customers can report outages online or by text and receive updates via text, email and phone.
- Residential and commercial customers are encouraged to call Tampa Electric's dedicated toll-free automated power outage phone system at 1-877-588-1010 to report a power outage or electric emergency.
- In addition to the automated outage reporting system, customers can report outages online at tampaelectric.com/outages or by texting OUT to 35069.
Customers can monitor and track outages in their neighborhoods through the outage map at tampaelectric.com/outagemap. The map displays the cause, status and estimated restoration time. Tampa Electric also will use Facebook facebook.com/tampaelectric and Twitter @tampaelectric to keep customers informed about outage restoration.
Help for customers in need
Tampa Electric recommends that customers with special needs call their county's special needs registry office to pre-register with a local response team. The response teams provide aid to persons who require special assistance during evacuations and sheltering because of physical, mental or sensory disabilities. Those offices can be reached at the following numbers: (813) 272-5900 in Hillsborough County, (863) 534-5600 in Polk County, (727) 847-8959 in Pasco County and (727) 464-3800 in Pinellas County.
Electrical safety guidelines
As with all its activities, safety is always Tampa Electric's No. 1 priority following a storm. Customers can enhance their safety and Tampa Electric's restoration efforts by observing the following guidelines:
- Stay away from any downed power lines. Downed lines do not have to pop and snap to be energized. Assume any downed power line is energized. Everyone should avoid contact with a downed line or any object – such as a tree branch, fence, vehicle or even water – that has come in contact with a downed power line.
- Use portable generators safely. Do not connect a portable generator directly to a home circuit. Plug appliances directly to the generator. Connecting a generator to home circuits may cause power to flow to outside lines, called backfeed, which can pose life-threatening danger to restoration crews.
- Also, portable generators must be properly ventilated. Do not use a generator inside a residence or any enclosed space, such as a garage, where deadly carbon monoxide gasses could build up.
- In the event of an outage, prepare the home for power restoration. Customers should make sure their homes are ready to safely receive electricity once power has been restored. Make sure there are no flammable items on the stove, no irons left on or other potentially dangerous situations. Turn off as many appliances as possible that require electricity and turn them on one-by-one after power is restored. This causes less stress to the power system and ensures that all customers get restored without unnecessary delays. Customers may want to leave their front porch light on so they will know when power is restored. When leaving the home for an extended period, customers should switch off their power at the main breaker.
Tampa Electric, one of Florida's largest investor-owned electric utilities, is part of the TECO Energy family of companies. Tampa Electric serves nearly 725,000 customers in West Central Florida. TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE) is an energy-related holding company with regulated electric and gas utilities in Florida and New Mexico: Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas System and New Mexico Gas Co.