TECO reveals preparations ahead of hurricane season

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Whether on the ground or high above the trees, Tampa Electric is preparing to tackle this hurricane season from all angles. 

"Hurricane season starts June 1st, and we are ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way," said TECO spokesperson Cherie Jacobs. 

Over the past year, TECO has invested about $50 million annually to ensure that they are storm ready. 

"In the past year that has included inspecting 40,000 power poles," Jacobs said. "We've hardened or replaced almost 4,000 distribution and transmission structures, and we've also trimmed about 1,200 miles of trees along our power lines in preparation for hurricane season."

TECO expects to have faster response times too. They now have drones that are able to get a bird's eye view of any damage.

They said they've also worked to improve critical power lines around the city. 

"Everything from lightning protection to upgrading equipment and making sure that those key power lines are as ready for severe weather as they can be," Jacobs said.

You might even see one of their extra-tall bucket trucks out and about after a storm. The truck is able to extend workers up to 150 feet into the air. 

"This is taller than your typical bucket truck, and this will help to access transmission structures and other difficult to reach places," she told FOX 13.

While crews are taking care of issues in the sky, other teams can tackle problems on the ground with TECO's all-terrain vehicles. 

"It's called an ARGO, and it's really good for swampy, marshy areas," Jacobs explained. "It has big tires, and it really helps crews get into areas that are hard to reach to restore power."

However, in order to make sure things run smoothly both in the sky and on the ground, those behind the scenes are working just as hard. 

"This is the distribution control room, and it's the nerve center or the control center for our distribution system. So, if we have a storm that goes on, there's a lot of activity here," said Ed Mora, Manager of Distribution and Restoration with Tampa Electric.  

Mora said that TECO continues to work to find new ways to speed up response times, ensuring that when your power goes out, crews are prepared. 

"We have sophisticated computer systems that will have some brains behind it and actually predict where our outages may occur and which device might actually be out," Mora said. 

In order to make sure you are prepared for hurricane season and any potential outages, TECO encourages customers to make sure all their information is up-to-date on their website.