Tropical Storm Danny serves as a reminder about the importance of being ready for severe weather and getting Tampa Electric’s free Power Updates via text, mobile or phone

An enhanced satellite image of Hurricane Frances as seen from space.

An enhanced satellite image of Hurricane Frances as seen from space.

Nobody can predict with complete certainty what path Tropical Storm Danny will take as it churns closer to North America. But it’s entirely possible to predict what you’ll need to do if severe weather strikes.

At Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas, we’re always ready – we hone our storm plan year-round, including spending more than $56 million annually in a 10-point plan to harden the system against severe weather and investing in new tools like our new mobile command center to help us restore power as quickly as possible. And our commitment to readiness also includes helping you prepare your household too. One way is to sign up for our free Power UpdatesSM, where customers can report outages and receive updates via text, mobile or phone.

Severe weather can take many forms; this is the aftermath of a tornado that swept through South Tampa in 2011.

Severe weather can take many forms; this is the aftermath of a tornado that swept through South Tampa in 2011.

“The 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina should make everyone think about what a similar scenario could look like in Florida,” said Susan Mueller, TECO’s director of Emergency & Business Continuity. “Our top priorities during and after severe weather are safety and reliability, and we have a well-trained workforce that’s very skilled at these things – but it’s up to you to have a plan for your home or business that addresses your specific needs best.”

For general guidance, visit the Storm Safety section of our website. It has household tips to help you prepare as well as important information about how we restore power, the latest tools like the mobile command center we have to face emergency situations and much more. In addition, for your safety, here are three critical things to take to heart if severe weather strikes:

  • Stay away from downed power lines. Always assume that a downed power line is energized, and move away to safety.
  • Stay out of floodwaters. Floodwaters can hide energized power lines or other hazards, or put you at risk of drowning.
  • Caution: 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 gases could build up. (Note: this should not be done in a closed garage.)

To report power outages, we offer a variety of options in addition to our Power Updates:

  • Residential and commercial customers can 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.
  • Customers can also report outages online at tampaelectric.com/outages or by texting OUT to 35069.
Through our participation in a mutual assistance pact with other utilities, our crews will help other communities in need after severe weather, just as we'll receive help when we need it. Here, TECO crews head to New Jersey.

Through our participation in a mutual assistance pact with other utilities, our crews will help other communities in need after severe weather, just as we’ll receive help when we need it. Here, TECO crews head to New Jersey.

In the event of severe weather, you can also get updates from Tampa Electric on Facebook and Twitter.

“When we go several years without a severe storm, it might seem easy for people to let down their guard,” Mueller said. “Obviously that’s not an option at TECO, and we like to post this type of preparedness information ahead of storms like Danny to help remind everyone that we’re all part of the same community. It’s up to all of us to be prepared to ensure prompt recovery.”

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