KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The power outages in Knoxville after Monday’s storm and tornado are likely to be one of the top five restoration events that the Knoxville Utilities Board has been a part of according to a video posted by the utility company on X.
During the video, Steve Proffitt, KUB’s manager of overhead construction, explains that the last time he saw damage on this scale was in 2011, and it was more widespread in that incident.
Proffitt said at the height, there were 60,000 customers without power. As of Wednesday evening, there are still approximately 750 customers without power, according to KUB’s outage map. That number is about half of the number of customers that KUB said were without power earlier in the day.
In addition to the isolated areas that are affected, Proffitt said the restoration has been complicated by the vegetation and trees affected by the winds as well as the number of broken poles in the system.
He said the number of broken poles alone is one of the reasons that KUB has brought in additional resources. Another post from KUB on Wednesday said there were 170 crews working to restore power to customers.
“Many of the dots that are left out there, the customers impacted are smaller in nature, so the crews may work a broke pole, could take 6, 8, 10, 12 hours and we may get two customers home instead of 200 like we were doing earlier in the week. So we’re putting the same amount of effort in, but the yield of the customers turned back on when we make a repair just continues to be a little less as we get toward the end of this restoration, ” Proffitt said.
While there are many crews helping to restore outages, Proffitt added that the close proximity that the crews are working in can cause dangerous situations. KUB is being deliberate with how work is assigned to keep crews safe, Proffitt said.
“We are very, very thankful for all of the folks at KUB, an event of this size and type is not just overhead construction. We have folks from every department represented in this restoration and they have put their lives and other daily jobs on hold to serve our customers and we are forever grateful for that. We thank you for your patience. We know it’s difficult. Many of our folks still do not have power at their residences as well, working through this event and we know it’s challenging we’re working as safely and quickly as we can to restore power. To all customers and we will not stop till everyone is back on,” Proffitt said.
KUB says estimated restoration times are available on its online outage map as well as in its mobile app.