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Tampa Bay’s power companies prepare for Tropical Storm Elsa

Here’s how to report an outage during and after the storm.
A lineman with Service Electric Co., a subcontractor with Duke Energy, works on a project at Duke's substation on Jan. 7, 2020, at 5400 Ulmerton Road in Largo.
A lineman with Service Electric Co., a subcontractor with Duke Energy, works on a project at Duke's substation on Jan. 7, 2020, at 5400 Ulmerton Road in Largo. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | TImes ]
Published Jul. 6
Updated Jul. 6

Tampa Bay’s power companies are ready to restore power, if needed, after Tropical Storm Elsa. Duke Energy Florida and Tampa Electric Co. have crews staged and prepared for any damage.

“We prepare year-round and continuously modernize the grid to keep the lights on, but tropical weather events like (Tropical Storm) Elsa bring wind-blown debris and flooding that can cause outages,” said Duke Energy’s Florida president Melissa Seixas. “We are prepared for those conditions and encourage our customers to continue monitoring the storm.”

Duke Energy serves about 1.8 million customers in Florida, while Tampa Electric Co. has about 800,000 customers.

As of Tuesday morning, a hurricane watch was issued for Tampa Bay as the storm moved up the Gulf of Mexico. The region will likely face strong winds, storm surge and rain. While high-speed winds are often what causes outages, flooding also can knock the power out.

“Tampa Electric’s crews are prepared to work around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely as possible,” the company said in a release. “They have ensured their trucks are fully stocked and they have appropriate supplies and equipment.”

Related: Hurricane watch issued for Tampa Bay as Tropical Storm Elsa moves north

Duke Energy is bringing crews from the Carolinas and Midwest to help restore power after the storm and has staged crews in areas it expects could lose power. Employees also are assessing supplies “to ensure adequate materials are available to make repairs and restore power outages.”

The company noted in a release that its restoration efforts are not always speedy. It needs to assess the storm’s damage before assigning crews and supplies where they are most needed. This can take “24 hours or more.”

Likewise, Tampa Electric is making arrangements for line crews and tree trimmers to help with power restoration after the storm.

Here’s how to report an outage:

  • Duke Energy customers can text “OUT” to 57801, call 800-228-8485 or report it online.
  • Tampa Electric customers can text “OUT” to 27079, call 877-588-1010 or report it online. Customers can register their phone numbers for a faster experience at tecoaccount.com. The companies’ smart meters also likely know if a customer’s power is out.

Both companies will post updates on Twitter (@tampaelectric and @dukeenergy ) and Facebook (facebook.com/tampaelectric and facebook.com/duke.energy).

Customers should stay away from fallen power lines after the storm, the companies said, and beware of sagging power lines. If a power line falls across a car, stay in the car.

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2021 Tampa Bay Times hurricane guide

IT’S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: Seven hurricane myths that need to go away

BACK-UP YOUR DATA: Protect your data, documents and photos

BUILD YOUR HURRICANE KIT: Gear up — and mask up — before the storm hits

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Here’s how to keep your pets as safe as you

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter