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Tampa Electric Earns Tree Line USA[R] Certification.

The Company is Recognized for the Care It Takes with Trees It Must Trim near Power Lines

TAMPA, Fla. -- The National Arbor Day Foundation([TM]) has certified Tampa Electric a Tree Line USA([R]) utility for its efforts to protect the health of trees the company must trim near power lines. A tree that comes into contact with a power line can create a safety hazard and can also lead to power outages.

The Tree Line USA program is sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters. The program recognizes public and private utilities across the nation that demonstrate practices that protect and enhance America's urban forests. To qualify for Tree Line USA status, a utility must demonstrate quality tree care practices, complete annual worker training and participate in tree planting and public education.

"The Tree Line USA designation is an important one for Tampa Electric and our customers," said John Webster, right-of-way maintenance supervisor in Tampa Electric's Line Clearance department. "Our team members work hard to balance our dedication to reliability with our dedication to the health of the trees in the communities we serve. The Tree Line USA certification shows that we're achieving the right balance."

For its tree-trimming practices, Tampa Electric follows the guidelines outlined in the ANSI A300, The American National Standards Institute, A300 Standards for Tree Care Operations: Tree, Shrub, and Other Woody Plant Maintenance - Standard Practices (Part 1 & 7). The company trains its team members and contractors who conduct tree trimming to follow these guidelines.

With its online Tree Planting and Safety Guide, Tampa Electric provides information to the public on ideal trees to plant for Florida's climate and where to plant them to minimize the chances that they will come into contact with power lines. To access the guide, visit tampaelectric.com/residential, click Products and Services and then Tree Trimming.

"As part of our storm hardening effort, we conduct safe, year-round vegetation management," said Webster. "Educating customers on proper tree planting is especially important with respect to hurricane season, when high winds can damage trees near power lines and cause outages that impact customers - something we make a top priority to prevent."

The company communicates with customers regularly about how to report trees on their property in contact with or in danger of coming into contact with power lines. Customers should never attempt to trim trees near power lines. Instead they should call Tampa Electric at the following number that serves their area: 813-223-0800 in Hillsborough County, 863-299-0800 in Polk County and 1-888-223-0800 in all other areas.

Learn more about the Tree Line USA program at arborday.org by clicking Programs and then Tree Line USA.

About Tampa Electric

Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company, with regulated utility operations in Florida, including both Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System. Tampa Electric serves almost 667,000 customers in West Central Florida. Other subsidiaries include TECO Coal, which owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia, and TECO Guatemala, which is engaged in electric power generation and distribution and energy-related businesses in Guatemala.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 26, 2009
Words:530
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