Hurricane season started June 1, but Tampa Electric prepares year-round to deal with the potential impacts of hurricanes and widespread power outages. Tampa Electric's comprehensive storm plan is in place and ready to help restore power as safely and quickly as possible in the event of a storm.

Hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, is a particularly vulnerable time for the system of wires and equipment producing and delivering electricity to homes and businesses. Severe storms can damage Tampa Electric's energy production and delivery systems, and power outages are not uncommon during storm conditions.

As with all its activities, safety is Tampa Electric's number one priority following a storm. Tampa Electric's second objective in the event of widespread outages is to restore power to the largest number of customers in the shortest possible time. Team members work to restore power to the entire service area as safely and quickly as possible.

Electric service is restored in a pre-determined order of priority. Facilities identified by governmental agencies as "critical" to public health and safety, such as hospitals, disaster centers and main police and fire stations, come first. This way, these critical agencies can assist with other storm-related problems or injuries.

For the protection of public health, primary water and sewer installations are next, followed by all others, including communication service providers, schools, nursing homes, supermarkets, home improvement/building supply centers, insurance facilities, etc.

Due to the configuration of the power system, part of a residential subdivision could have its power restored while another is still without power. All residential areas are considered equally important, and Tampa Electric works safely and quickly to restore service to all.

When a major storm's arrival is imminent, Tampa Electric coordinates with utilities and contractors across the nation to mobilize crews towards Florida. Tampa Electric's crews are placed on call so that they are available to repair any damage affecting Tampa Electric's lines and equipment, but only when they can do so safely.