Our restoration process
Why does my power go out?
Did you know that most outages are caused by natural occurrences? View our reliability tip sheet to learn more.
Safety comes first
As we make safety our top priority, we ask that you do the same. Please follow these critical electrical safety guidelines.
We balance our commitment to reliable service with the health of the trees we must trim near power lines. We're proud to have received recognition as a Tree Line USA utility by the National Arbor Day Foundation™, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters.
All communities we serve are equal to us. During a widespread power outage, our goal is to restore power to the largest number of customers in the shortest possible time. Severe weather can bring with it a lot of unpredictable factors, and we focus on safety – for our team members and you – above all else. Before our crews can go outside to begin repair work, we must make sure conditions are safe and that winds are below 40 mph.
When large areas lose power, especially if severe weather is ongoing, we take a priority restoration approach to restoring service. Here's how it works:
- Electric service is restored to critical services facilities first – hospitals, disaster centers and main police and fire stations. This enables these places to help with other storm-related problems or injuries.
- Water and sewer installations are next.
- After that, we focus on communication service providers and facilities providing important public services such as supermarkets, home improvement/building supply centers, insurance facilities, etc.
- Then we repair electrical circuits that provide power to the largest group of customers, followed by the remainder of the circuits until the power is back on for all our customers.
It's possible that your neighbors' power may come back on while yours is still out. Because of the widespread damage a storm can cause, crews might need to make repairs at multiple spots along a single electric service line. As repairs are completed, some customers may receive power while others may still be out of service. Sometimes, different customers have different service lines, even within the same neighborhood. If you are on the same service line as your neighbor, you may also have damage to your meter that is interrupting electric service to your home. This electric service diagram shows you what meter-related damage the customer is responsible for repairing and what Tampa Electric is responsible for fixing.
Use portable generators safely. DO NOT connect a portable generator to home circuits. Plug appliances directly to the generator. Connecting a generator to home circuits may cause power to flow to outside lines, posing life-threatening danger to restoration crews. Also, portable generators must NOT be taken into a residence or any enclosed space where deadly carbon monoxide gasses could build up. There are also other devices, such as invertors, that can provide some emergency backup power for small appliances through an automobile engine. (Note: this should not be done in a closed garage.)
Stay away from downed power lines
While some energized wires spark and snap, others may not appear dangerous. Always assume that a downed power line is energized. Stay a safe distance away and call 911 or Tampa Electric at 877-588-1010.
Stay out of flood waters – avoid hidden dangers
Floodwaters can hide energized power lines or electrical equipment and other hazards, or put you at risk of drowning. Submerged electrical equipment can be extremely dangerous.
If you experience an electrical outage or you are disconnected for any reason, please turn off all electric appliances. Remove any flammable materials from stove-top heating elements and other appliances that may activate or produce heat once electric service is reconnected. If you have questions, please visit tecoaccount.com or contact Customer Care toll-free at 888-223-0800 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Did you know that natural occurrences like trees and animals coming into contact with electric equipment causes more than half the outages that occur? View our reliability tip sheet to learn more. You may experience one of the following two types of power outages:
A power outage lasting one minute or longer is usually caused by a problem in the electric distribution system between the power plant and your home or business. When a power outage occurs, Tampa Electric will respond to the outage and make any repairs necessary to restore power.
A momentary interruption typically lasts less than a second and is commonly caused by a short circuit that results when something comes in contact with power lines: animals, trees or other power lines. If this happens, a breaker automatically de-energizes the circuit and causes a momentary interruption to your service until the problem is cleared.
It's important to understand that a momentary interruption lasting less than one second is the result of a safety device that is designed to automatically open the circuit to prevent damage that can lead to an extended outage. During Florida's hurricane season, outages may increase due to high winds and lightning. To keep outages to a minimum, Tampa Electric inspects and clears away trees and limbs from power lines. In addition, Tampa Electric works with environmental experts to protect birds and other animals by researching new ways to prevent them from coming into contact with power lines.
Damage to your meter and other electric infrastructure – who’s responsible?
Tampa Electric is responsible for any storm-related damage to the electric meter and service line. Customers are responsible to damage to the weatherhead, riser and the meter box. Should damage occur, you must call a licensed electrician to make repairs.
- Service Line: Carries electricity from neighborhood power pole to your home.
- Weatherhead: The rounded pipe on your roof that receives service lines.
- Riser: The pipe that contains service lines and connects your weatherhead to your meter box.
- Electric Meter: Continuously records the amount of electricity in use in your home.
- Meter Box: Where your meter is mounted and encases the cable connection to your breaker panel.