Tampa Electric has supplied the Tampa Bay area with electricity since 1899 and started off as a company that managed electric trolley systems for the 12-year-old city of Tampa. It's West Central Florida service area covers 2,000 square miles, including most of Hillsborough County and parts of Polk, Pasco, and Pinellas counties. The company has more than 5,000 megawatts of generating capacity and over 765,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers that depend on Tampa Electric for reliable power. The company invests in electricity generation, transmission, and distribution, as well as gas transmission and utility energy services. They have recently switched to a focus on transformation from high carbon to low carbon energy sources.
Tampa Electric was able to build their first steam generating plant in 1906. This was a coal-fired unit on the banks of the Hillsborough River. They remained in the trolley system and ice-making businesses for a while, and then in 1913, the company started giving away light bulbs to encourage bringing electricity into people's homes. During the 1930s, the company noticed that the street railway system's use and revenue was declining. Due to this, electric rail transportation was abandoned in 1946. Then in 1955 the company decided to shift Tampa Electric's main source of power from oil to coal. They thought this change was necessary to reduce the company's dependence on oil because oil prices were starting to skyrocket. The company grew from an electric company to an energy company in 1981 due to the formation of TECO Energy as a holding company. This meant that the shipping, bulk storage, and coal mining companies, which had been part of the electric company, became separate corporations. With the help of a steadily growing economy, Tampa Electric's performance boosted in the early 1990s. Today, the company continues to work on developing its own businesses and projects to create value and increase earnings.