As one of the oldest companies in Tampa, Tampa Electric has been proudly serving residents for 125 years.

When the first electric streetlight illuminated downtown Tampa in the late 19th century, crowds gathered, and reporters wrote about the ‘light show.’ Since that first streetlight, everyone’s lives have been immeasurably brightened by the power of electricity.

And now, in 2024, Tampa Electric marks its 125th anniversary — right where it all began. 

“At the heart of our 125-year history is a deep connection with the communities we serve,” said Archie Collins, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. “As one of the oldest companies in Tampa, we have powered homes and businesses — while fueling dreams and aspirations. We are proud to be such an important part of the fabric of this community.”

Through the years, the energy industry has changed dramatically as technology has advanced. Tampa Electric has been at the forefront of these changes, constantly innovating to meet the evolving needs of customers. From adding renewable energy sources to integrating a smarter grid, the company’s commitment to progress, safety and customers has always been its priority.

Here are just a few examples: 

  • In 1899, the company had 28 employees and 1,200 customers. Today, Tampa Electric employs about 2,500 people and serves 840,000 customers across West Central Florida. Each year, employees devote tens of thousands of hours volunteering to make our communities brighter. 
  • Far from the days of that first downtown streetlight, TECO now has 200,000 energy-efficient LED streetlights, some with smart-city capabilities. 
  • The company’s fuel use has changed dramatically. This year, coal consumption is expected to be down by 94 percent since 2000. Solar power is up to 14 percent of the electricity we create, with plans to add more. TECO generates the highest amount of solar energy per customer of any utility in the state. That all adds up to save customers about $200 million in fuel costs since 2017.
  • In the 1980s, the Big Bend power plant developed an unusual following — of manatees. The gentle giants gather in the warm, clean water used to cool the plant. What began as a small parking lot, then a trailer, eventually became the award-winning Manatee Viewing Center. 
  • In the past 20 years, Tampa Electric has reduced the length of power outages by 40 percent and reduced the number of momentary ‘flickers’ by 65 percent. Today, the company delivers 99.98 percent service reliability to customers.

The next chapter in the TECO story will be one of continued innovation, sustainability and community engagement.

Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 840,000 customers in West Central Florida. Visit

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