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News Release

Tampa Electric Announces Plan to Enhance Customer Service in the Year 2000 and Beyond

TAMPA, January 20, 2000

Tampa Electric Company today outlined its strategy for enhancing customer service by leveraging community relationships and controlling operational costs.

Under the plan, Tampa Electric would enhance customer service by capitalizing on procedural efficiencies that would make doing business with the company more convenient for its 550,000 customers in West Central Florida.

In March, Tampa Electric will begin implementing its strategy to reduce the number of physical business offices and revamp remaining locations to lower costs and improve service.

While the plan calls for continued use of our current employees, some will move to other remaining business office locations and the company’s Customer Care Center in Ybor City.

At the same time, Tampa Electric plans to restructure and expand its network of pay agent locations to offer customers more convenience and continued Billing Options in areas that will be affected by office closings.

Pay agents at local retail establishments will offer Tampa Electric customers same business day payment transmission and expanded business hours.

"Our challenge has been improving service levels while holding down costs," said Hugh Smith, Tampa Electric’s vice president of Energy Services and Marketing.

"The cornerstone of this plan," Smith said, "is the introduction of courtesy phones at each of the remaining business office locations. By using these phones, customers will be able to conduct the same kinds of transactions that they do today faster, from starting and disconnecting electric service to getting bill payment information.

"While this does represent a significant cultural change in the way we now do business," Smith said, "we believe that once customers experience the increased quality of service, they will be very pleased."

By redirecting the way Tampa Electric processes customer transactions – from a face-to-face environment to one that is operated almost exclusively via telephone – call center productivity is expected to increase significantly.

Savings that result from these changes will be used to further enhance call center operations. This is expected to create an environment, said Smith, in which more than half of customer calls will be answered in 60 seconds or less.

Tampa Electric’s plan targets closing three of its existing business offices in Ruskin, Mulberry and its downtown Tampa location by mid-2000. However, the company’s commitment to surrounding communities will continue and in many cases be made stronger, said Smith.

"We’ll separate district operations from community relations, and establish regional managers, whose primary responsibility will be continuing to enhance our strong relationships with the communities we serve."

For additional media materials, including high-resolution company logos, district office photos, and a glossary of terms, please visit our Online Newsroom at

Tampa Electric is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. TECO Energy is a diversified, energy-related utility holding company also based in Tampa. In addition to Tampa Electric, its principal businesses include Peoples Gas, the state's largest natural and propane gas companies serving nearly 300,000 customers statewide; TECO Coal; TECO Transport; TECO Coalbed Methane; TECO Power Services; and Bosek Gibson and Associates.

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