NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Valley Authority continued with its rolling blackouts Saturday as frigid temperatures continued to strain power generation facilities.
The TVA made the announcement on Saturday, Dec. 24 around 5 a.m. and urged all utility power distributors in the Tennessee Valley to drop 10% of their electricity load immediately.
Hours after the announcement was made, the TVA downgraded to a 5% power interruption — creating 10-minute outages every 1.5 to 2 hours in certain areas.
Power curtailments began early for those in the NES service area, which includes Davidson County and surrounding Middle Tennessee counties.
The rolling blackouts first began at approximately 11:21 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 23. NES customers were told to expect rotating, intermittent power outages in roughly 10-minute increments every 90 to 120 minutes until the power load was stabilized.
Hours after the rolling blackouts were reinstated, the TVA posted on Twitter that power blackouts were halted after the power grid was stabilized.
“We have ended planned intermittent interruptions, also known as rolling blackouts. We appreciate your patience as we worked with our 153 local power companies and industrial customers to manage record-setting power demand,” said the TVA.
On Saturday morning, NES announced the rolling blackouts were continued after reporting success from Friday’s planned outages.
“The NES electric system deployed yesterday’s rotating outages successfully,” said Jack Baxter, vice president of operations, NES. “This proves that curtailment protects the grid from further damage. While it’s not ideal, we know this measure will help keep the overall power supply flowing.”
The TVA stated particular locations such as “Cane Ridge, Brick Church Pike and Crutcher Street were experiencing frozen switches and other equipment that prevent smooth power flow.”
Officials said there will be up to 30 NES crews working all day to continue restoring power to the current outages.
The TVA said they recognized the disruptions were a challenge, but it was needed in order to maintain grid stability for 10 million people across seven states.
Saturday afternoon, NES released an update on the power disruption situation and explain the process of the rotating power interruptions.
NES reported crews were working to restore power to about 4,000 customers which was down from over 70,000 at the peak of the outages caused by the winter weather. According to the statement released by NES, the rotating power interruptions and voluntary energy conservation have ceased currently, but they could happen again if conditions dictate.
You can read the full statement below:
Nashville Electric Service (NES) crews are working to restore power to about 4,000 customers, down from 72,000 outages at the winter storm’s peak. NES is also managing the historic energy use reported by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Record-setting temperatures across the region continue to put intense pressure on the power system. During the 24 hours of Dec. 23, TVA supplied more energy than any other time in its history.
After TVA reported the power grid was stabilized this morning, NES ceased the rotating, intermittent power outages in Davidson County and surrounding counties in Middle Tennessee, but they could happen again. TVA has also lifted voluntary energy conservation by customers, for now.
To explain the NES process of the rotating power interruptions mandated by TVA, NES has to target individual feeder circuits in the service area, not individual customers. This is required to save enough energy to protect the bulk electric system from failure.
“When selecting circuits for rotating power outages, we try to stay away from circuits with critical facilities, like hospitals and other critical infrastructure centers unknown to the general public for security reasons,” said Jack Baxter, vice president of Operations, NES. “The rotating power outages may not affect some customers and areas that are tied to these critical circuits.
“These types of critical facilities circuits are spread out within the service territory and are considered when selecting circuits for interruption. This determines why certain circuits are interrupted and why others are not. In these types of situations, it may not be the importance of a particular customer, but rather a customer on that particular circuit.”
While rotating power interruptions and voluntary energy conservation have ceased, they could happen again if conditions dictate.
📲 Download the News 2 app to stay updated on the go.
📧 Sign up for WKRN email alerts to have breaking news sent to your inbox.
💻 Find today’s top stories on WKRN.com for Nashville, TN and all of Middle Tennessee.
This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.