Tampa Electric’s skilled Customer Care team is used to hearing about customers’ crises – many of which involve trouble making electric and natural gas payments.
For almost any other kind of dire situation they might be facing, there’s the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
That’s the simple message that TECO and the Crisis Center want people to know. Tucked away in an unassuming building in north Tampa, the Crisis Center helps people of all ages around the clock, 365 days a year. By calling 2-1-1, people can access services that include suicide prevention, post-trauma counseling and forensic examination, financial counseling and daily safety checks for low-income, socially-isolated elderly and disabled adults. And that’s just a start.
“The Crisis Center is such a great resource in this area that we want to make sure team members are familiar with it and how it can be a resource for customers,” said Gerri Drummond, a Tampa Electric team member. “In electricity and natural gas, TECO provides basic necessities – and when someone has trouble paying for them, it’s an indicator that they might need the kind help that the center provides.”
Julia McMichen, also with Tampa Electric, said she has a conversation with someone about the Crisis Center at least once a week.
“The very next day after our tour of the Crisis Center, we were able to help a family that had fallen into truly desperate circumstances by pointing them to the center,” McMichen said. “It was a reminder of how Tampa Electric can be an important piece of the puzzle in showing people how to get help.”
Drummond said that working with the Crisis Center is about more than playing a positive role in the community – although it is valuable in that way, especially since the center is always looking for volunteers.
“It’s about doing the right thing,” Drummond said. “By the nature of our business, we’re such a big part of the community that it makes sense to help the people we serve get help they need when they’re desperate. It’s about being good human beings.”