- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - TECO Energy officials say they’re exploring a potential sale.

The parent company of Tampa Electric Co. and Peoples Gas said Thursday that it was “exploring strategic alternatives” and had retained Morgan Stanley & Co. Officials declined further comment.

A sale would affect 700,000 Tampa Electric customers, mostly in the Tampa Bay area, as well as 350,000 Peoples Gas Systems customers statewide.

TECO Energy shares rose over 15 percent to close Thursday at $21.48.

The company also operates the New Mexico Gas Co., serving 510,000 customers. It recently has sought to sell its coal business, TECO Coal, which operates in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

TECO Energy is dwarfed by Duke Energy, which has 7.3 million electric customers in six states, and by Florida Power and Light, which has 4.3 million customers.

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