TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane season officially begins on June 1. TECO says they’ve been preparing all year to improve the power grid before the next big storm hits.

“In 2022, Tampa electric invested more than $180 million to strengthen our system against severe weather,” said TECO spokesperson Cherie Jacobs.

The improvements include strengthened or replaced power poles, strengthened transmission structures and trimmed trees along 3,000 miles of power transmission lines.

TECO is also investing in a storm protection plan that will bury up to 100 miles of overhead power transmission lines a year.

“The goal of the project is to reduce outages after a storm and to speed restoration after severe weather,” said Jacobs.

When the power does go out, it’s the job of people like Delroy Richards to restore it. Sometimes that involves long hours of work.

“The most I’ve worked is 16, 17 hours, sometimes we work 24 hours and so it takes a toll on you, but I think, if you enjoy what you do, you don’t worry about it that much and that’s how I look at it,” said Richards.

When the power is restored, Richards says people are very thankful.

“Just something simple like power, you don’t know how important it is until you’ve lost it, so when they get it back, everybody is happy,” said Richards.