Strengthening Power Lines
 

Some power lines can be prone to outages more than others, depending on several factors, including tree coverage, age of equipment, and activity of wildlife. In the early phases of the Storm Protection Plan, Tampa Electric will place lines underground, to increase restoration time during extreme weather.

Our work will focus on the lines that can have the biggest improvement in reliability during extreme weather. We also will install stronger, more storm-resistant poles and improved technology along certain power lines. And we'll make our substations more resilient by raising some equipment or building flood walls.

About Our Storm Protection Plan FAQ

A. In recent years, extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, have left millions of Floridians without power and have cost hundreds of millions of dollars to restore. Some customers were without power for weeks after a severe storm. Legislators and regulators have been working with utilities to strengthen the state's electric grid and to shorten restoration time.

In 2019, the Florida Legislature passed a law that created the Storm Protection Plan (SPP). The law requires each public electric utility in Florida to file a 10-year SPP that is updated every three years.

Tampa Electric's plan is designed to strengthen our electric system to better withstand extreme weather events, which will mean fewer outages for customers, and shorter outages after extreme weather events.

A. The plan includes:

  • Converting certain overhead lines to underground, averaging 100 to 150 miles per year
  • Trimming trees more frequently
  • Replacing remaining wooden transmission poles with concrete or steel poles
  • Making our substations more resilient by raising some equipment or building flood walls.
  • Installing stronger, more storm-resistant poles and improved technology along certain power lines.

A. On average, Tampa Electric expects to invest about $100 million to $150 million a year in the plan. Initial years will have smaller investments as projects ramp up.

A. The costs of the SPP are included in the energy charges to all customers. In 2021, that charge will be a net increase of $1.49 per month, for the average residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month. (It will appear as a line item charge of $2.39, along with a reduction in base rates of 90 cents). In future years, the additional charge for the SPP is expected to be less than $1 per month. By strengthening our system, we're able to restore power more quickly to all customers after a major storm event, which should lower the total costs to customers in the long term. Even with these significant investments, Tampa Electric rates remain among the lowest in the state and significantly below the national average.

A. There is no amount of improvements that can make an electric grid hurricane-proof. However, by strengthening the electric system, Tampa Electric's planned improvements should help reduce the number and length of power outages. The goal is for power restoration to be faster and less expensive for all our customers.

A. Both Tampa Electric and contract employees will work on these projects. Tampa Electric contractors carry identification badges and will gladly present their credentials to you upon request.

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