TAMPA - The 2012 Republican National Convention will bring countless upgrades to Tampa including road improvements, hotel re-dos and venue changes.
But one of the biggest upgrades is happening right now underneath the city.
"We'll be adding equipment such as transformers, switch gear, underground cable, things like that, to make sure our network can handle that increased load," said TECO’s Cherie Jacobs.
The increased energy load will happen in a compressed area -- Downtown Tampa -- where more than 45,000 people will be visiting and working.
Tampa Electric has a team of 40 people already tweaking its power grid more than one year out.
"It can be anywhere from 17 to19 megawatts of increased energy and that's essentially the equivalent of adding more than seven thousand homes,” explained Jacobs.
During a well-attended Lightning game, the Forum uses 4 megawatts of electricity. The venue is expected to double that during the convention's four days. So crews will also make energy upgrades inside the arena to keep the lights bright especially on the convention's final night.
"You have an extra lighting grid. You're obviously making sure we provide added power, uninterrupted service and backup to all the media. That's so important. We've done it in each facility where we've gone to," said Alec Poitevint, Republican National Committee.
Poitevint is the CEO of the Convention’s Committee on Arrangements which organized other RNC conventions like the one in Philadelphia.
He points out another plus -- once it’s over, the upgrades will stay in Tampa.
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