By Tamas Mondovics

For the past four decades, Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas (TECO) has been offering a number of energy-efficiency programs to its residential and business customers.

According to TECO officials, aside from providing basic services and a variety of programs TECO encourages its customers to save energy by using efficient appliances.

“If they use less electricity, it can help delay the need to build additional power plants,” said company spokesperson Cheri Jacobs.

One of TECO’s appliance-related, energy-saving programs involves the conversion of electric water heater to a natural gas water offered to both residential and business customers.

Jacobs said that residential or business customers who convert their electric water heater to a natural gas water heater also qualify for rebates.

The residential average cost of a tankless water heater runs at approximately $675, which Jacobs said, “Can pay for a big portion of the cost of installation.”

A second, and somewhat more recent incentive program is offered to local businesses, who upgrade to a new energy-efficient electric heat pump or water heater. Customers are eligible for up to $2000 in rebates.
“This is a newer program and has been in place for about 5 years,” Jacobs said.

In addition, People’s Gas is offering a Natural Gas Water Heater Program. For a standard tank natural gas water heater, customers pay $9.99 a month for 60 months and receive a 30 or 40-gallon water heater, removal and disposal of the old heater, and typical installation that includes 10 feet of gas piping, 10 feet of water line in the same location, taxes, and removal and disposal of the old water heater. There’s little or no money down and no interest. The monthly payment is conveniently added to your Peoples Gas bill.

A 7-gallon per minute tankless unit is also available for $24.99 per month for 60 months.

For information, cost comparisons and details about the programs please email to
Of course when considering any upgrade or addition inside or outside of a home or business, safety must always come first.

To encourage its customers to be safe, Peoples Gas and Tampa Electric also continues to remind homeowners to call 811 before digging.

The current reminder is appropriate during the month of April, as it marks the 10th annual National Safe Digging Month.

In a recent release on its website TECO emphasized that no matter the size of the project residents must call 811 before every digging project.

And for a good reason.

TECO reported that 170,000 underground utilities are damaged every year across the nation, and one out of every three incidents is the result of failing to call 811.

Visit for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process. You also can visit and for more safety tips.

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