NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nearly 50,000 people were with without power after a storm hit Nashville Friday night. For hundreds of Nashville’s lower-income residents, 36 hours without power not only meant that they were in the dark, but also hungry.
When local leaders found out about the continued power outage at the Andrew Jackson affordable housing community, they started pushing the Nashville Electric Service to prioritize a population that is already experiencing financial hardship and food insecurity.
“When the power was out they should’ve came here first to help out a lot of people and cut their power on you know what I’m saying? ‘Cause a lot of people lost a lot of their food,” said resident Juan Bishop.
“All the food in the house is starting to rot and we don’t have anything to eat right now,” said resident Quentin Cason.
Councilman Freddie O’connell, Mayor David Briley and several other area leaders say when they found out about the continued power outage at the Andrew Jackson affordable housing community, they pushed to get the power restored Sunday morning. Residents say power returned between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
O’Connell also organized a food drop along with Second Harvest. People came with truckloads to help.
“We heard about this, my wife and I ran to the warehouse, and we loaded about 60 boxes of food, each 30 pounds boxes, then we also had a couple boxes of apples and a couples of oranges, and we threw them in the truck and drove down from Franklin,” said Chris Whitney with One Generation Away food ministry.
Nashville Electric Service said in a statement this was the biggest power outage they had in 7 years. They say they’re empathetic with their customers, but with about 50,000 power outages throughout Nashville starting Friday night, they had to order parts and start repairs to main infrastructure first — prioritizing hospitals and public safety departments before getting to individual homes.
“NES is separate entity, it’s not run by the mayor’s office,” Mayor Briley told News 2 when he came to check on the food drop Sunday, “I think it’s a good learning experience for us, you know, we’re going to have to pay closer attention to power outages in these communities going forward.”
Councilwoman At-large Sharon Hurt was also there.
“They feel like it’s been um unfortunate for them because they think that the city has gone to other places and not come over here first,” Hurt told News 2, “I think they just need to know that people care, and and are compassionate for what’s happening. Now it’s not the city’s fault that this happened of course, but at the same time, it did happen and we need to step up and do things and make sure it’s more comfortable for them than what we have seen.”
Hurt and Briley both said they are going to continue the conversation to make sure something like this can be avoided in the future.