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Utilities' outage time increased in 2007

Progress Energy and Tampa Electric blame the weather for increased outages.

By ASJYLYN LODER, Times Staff Writer
Published March 7, 2008


If you're a customer of Tampa Electric or Progress Energy, chances are you probably spent a few more minutes in the dark last year.

The reliability of both utilities worsened in 2007, according to reports the utilities filed this week with state regulators. The average Tampa Electric customer spent nearly 77 minutes in the dark, as opposed to about 69 minutes in 2006. Progress Energy's customers spent 3.5 minutes more in the dark in 2007, for a total of just more than 78 minutes.

Both utilities blamed the slight uptick on severe weather.

Once a year, the utilities report to the state their System Average Interruption Duration Index, or SAIDI. It's based on outages and the number of customers. The average doesn't include lengthy outages caused by hurricanes.

Rick Morera, spokesman for Tampa Electric, said the company had the best record in the state in 2006, thanks to mild weather. Although the systemwide average worsened slightly in 2007, other numbers improved. For example, if your lights went out, Tampa Electric had them back on in 75.3 minutes, two minutes better than in 2006.

Progress Energy has been steadily improving its performance, said spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs. When Carolina Power & Light bought St. Petersburg's Florida Progress in 2000, creating Progress Energy, the average customer spent more than 100 minutes a year without power. Since then, the utility spent more than $100-million on new equipment and beefed up tree-trimming programs.

Reach Asjylyn Loder at or (813) 225-3117.

Down time

The number of minutes each year the average customer spent without power:

Tampa Electric

2005: 83.90

2006: 69.16

2007: 76.80

Progress Energy

2005: 74.5

2006: 74.8

2007: 78.3

[Last modified March 6, 2008, 22:57:58]

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