ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WKRN) — Unlike the snow, Councilwoman Joy Styles’ anger hasn’t yet melted away.
“TVA failed Tennessee,” she said. “That’s what happened on Friday.”
Friday, Dec. 23, was the beginning of a weekend of struggles her district began experiencing due to the weather.
“Yes there were power outages across the city, but Cane Ridge, (and) Antioch were impacted the most,” said Styles. “We had the most homes out.”
From Facebook posts to phone calls, Styles was hearing and responding to hundreds of residents.
“It was nonstop,” she said. “My elderly parents are here. They’re 90, and the temperature is dropping by the minute. What are we supposed to do? My food is spoiling, my family’s 600 miles away. I can’t possibly get there. It’s Christmas day and I still have no power. It’s painful.”
Over the Christmas weekend, 72,000 people in the Nashville area were without power, some for multiple days.
Styles says there was a lack of communication, something she finds unacceptable.
“First, it’s TVA improperly informing people that this was even a possibility,” she said. “That should have happened on Thursday and it didn’t. And NES internally just wasn’t great in terms of their communication.”
Now, she’s contacting numerous apartment complexes, saying hundreds of people in her district are still without water.
“When people are fighting to get power back and then you trade it off with no water, it’s problematic,” said Styles.
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She also has questions when it comes to our city’s power grid and how it impacts residents in Southeast Nashville.
“If we are putting that much pressure on the grid then when something goes wrong we’re going to be the most affected,” said Styles. “So how do we fix the grid? Can we pour money into it? Do we need to start asking people to participate in upgrading the grid if they want to do projects out here?”
As she works to help her district recover, she hopes this past weekend will be the push needed to start focusing on Southeast Nashville and its infrastructure.
“This weekend showed us we don’t have room to say we can’t handle it and we won’t handle it,” said Styles. “Right now, we must handle it.”
Styles says she’s planning a community meeting in January with representatives from TVA and NES to come out and speak to residents about what happened this past weekend and what plans are in place to improve the city’s power grid.
News 2 reached out to the Tennessee Valley Authority to see if they have plans on examining and improving Nashville’s power grid and received this response:
The requirement for rolling intermittent interruptions was not limited to any neighborhood. It was for all 153 local power companies we served. We realize it caused a temporary inconvenience but was necessary to protect the entire power grid.
We are conducting a thorough review of our policies and procedures that led us to take the steps we did.
We appreciate everyone’s patience and the partnership with our local power companies and industrial customers that helped us get through this once-in-a-generation event.
News 2 also reached out to NES who provided this response:
The Cane Ridge outage was caused by a fire in a control panel that significantly complicated restoration efforts.
As with any major weather event, we are currently reviewing our processes and procedures to see how we can improve. Our ultimate goal is to restore power to all of our customers as quickly and safely as possible. Battling severe weather conditions and dealing with equipment issues was a major challenge. We worked with our energy provider, TVA, throughout the process as it dealt with similar challenges throughout the Tennessee Valley.