Emergency Preparedness

With no exceptions for hurricanes or manmade disasters, TECO's chilled-water and steam service must run as planned or irreplaceable research and the health and welfare of patients could be in jeopardy. That's why TECO has designed the system for optimal operation and has put plans in place to keep its plants and people running under any condition.

No piece of equipment is overlooked. TECO thoroughly tests and commissions each piece of equipment installed to ensure it works as specified under trying conditions. For instance, we test manhole seals within our plants, verifying they can handle 15 head of water and still hold. TECO’s preventive maintenance program lists every piece of equipment at each plant and details its maintenance protocol, keeping hundreds of parts in inventory for quick repair.

Comprehensive contingency plans ready for both natural and manmade disasters. TECO conducts regular training and emergency drills with employees and contracts with a nationally recognized weather service to provide detailed forecasts for the area. We also participate in special preparedness drills in coordination with the Texas Medical Center, the state of Texas, Harris County and the city of Houston. 

Detailed plan guides care of on-site personnel. Long before an emergency, TECO makes sure plans are in place to shelter and care for 35 employees for seven days. TECO creates healthy meal plans and shopping lists and makes sure the proper plant and personal protection equipment, chemicals, non-perishable food, and bedding and hygiene items are on site. Perishable food is purchased immediately before any event and meals are cooked on site.

System design ensures seamless operation. TECO’s chilled-water system is interconnected between our Central Plant (Paul G. Bell, Jr. Energy Center) and South Main Plant, allowing chilled water to flow to customers from either plant if one is unable to function.

The Central Plant houses the company’s robust installed combined heat and power unit that enables us to provide all of our own electricity and continue chilled-water and steam service even if the electricity grid fails. TECO’s floodwall (shown here) and floodgates mitigate the effects of potential area flooding.


MADE to Respond

You’ve probably seen the images on TV: Large utility trucks leaving your area to help repair downed power lines caused by a major disaster elsewhere in the country. Everyone lends a hand. The district energy industry, too, is ready to respond.

In fact, TECO participates in the Mutual Assistance for District Energy (MADE) program through the International District Energy Association (IDEA). MADE, a voluntary program, gives participating IDEA members access to disaster assistance in the form of personnel or equipment from companies who know their business. The goal is to get the district energy system back up to full strength as quickly as possible.

In addition to TECO, MADE program members that are providing and receiving assistance include ConEdison, New York; Citizens Thermal, Indianapolis; NRG Energy Center Omaha; and Veolia North America, which has district energy systems in such locations as Philadelphia and Baltimore.

IDEA also holds annual online training sessions for participants, reviewing case studies of actual disasters and simulating emergency situations.

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