KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Valley Authority has ended intermittent rolling blackouts across East Tennessee caused by a increased strain on their power system. The federally owned utility corporation is still asking customers to voluntarily reduce electricity usage.
12:15 p.m. Update – TVA said rolling blackouts have ended and thanked everyone for doing their part to help conserve energy and maintain the power grid for 10 million people in the seven states that TVA services.
Noon Update – The Knoxville Utility Board announced that TVA has ended the mandatory outages for KUB’s service area. The City of Oak Ridge also said that rolling blackouts for their area had been terminated.
11:30 a.m. Update – The Knoxville Utility Board issued a statement that TVA has extended the requirement for them to reduce their power load, meaning that rolling blackouts will continue.
The Lenoir City Electric Company shared that TVA contacted them and other providers Friday and Saturday, asking them to reduce their system’s energy demand by 5-10 percent.
“In some cases, this resulted in power interruptions for our consumers. Reducing energy demand in a systematic, planned way helps to keep the power grid stable and prevents longer, widespread power outages.” LCEC said.
9:50 a.m. Update – The Knoxville Utility Board tweeted that it was informed by TVA that their system is stabilizing and they expect the mandatory electric outages to no longer be necessary after 10 a.m. Saturday.
9:30 a.m. Update – the TVA asked the public to continue energy conservation efforts over the next 36 hours using a few steps, including:
- Lower thermostats by just one or two degrees – public safety is of utmost importance during dangerously cold weather, so don’t make big adjustments but every degree can help save on future power bills.
- Delay doing laundry or running a dishwasher until the warmest part of the day, and turn off unnecessary lights and electronics.
- When the sun is out, open window coverings on the sunny side of homes and offices, but close window coverings at night and when the sun isn’t brightly shining.
8:20 a.m. Update – TVA has begun rolling blackouts again due to an increased strain on the power grid. These rolling outages come at a time where the WATE 6 Storm Team is Weather AWARE because of the frigid cold temperatures. The temperature in Knoxville at 8 a.m. was 5 degrees, and the high for the day is 23 degrees.
“Due to continued unprecedented cold temperatures resulting in high power demand, TVA has directed local power companies to reduce load to maintain system stability. Planned intermittent interruptions, also known as rolling blackouts, will continue to support system reliability. We appreciate everyone’s patience and support as we manage this unprecedented demand.” TVA said in a Facebook post around 8:05 a.m.
The Sevier County Electric System and Knox County Utility Board has issued both statements that the TVA has reinstated rolling blackouts as a part of its power conservation plan. SCEC and KUB said that blackouts will last approximately 15 minutes.
The City of Oak Ridge said these outages will impact about 10% of customers at a time and will last about 30 minutes, and explained that the outages are not optional as they are essential to prevent uncontrolled extended outages on the TVA system. The city also said they will post updates on their social media accounts.
Appalachian Electric Cooperative shared around 6 a.m. that the TVA had called for rolling blackouts again, however, the loss of the Piedmont substation caused blackouts to pause. Around 7 a.m., AEC said the substation had tripped and crews were working to locate the cause and get power restored.
The Lenoir City Utilities Board shared that it was implementing 15-minute rolling blackouts systemwide which will continue until further notice.
This story will be updated throughout the day.
TVA said around 12:30 p.m. Friday that the extremely cold temperatures across the region are creating unprecedented demands on the power system. According to the TVA, businesses and the public are asked to help by immediately reducing electric power us “as much as possible without sacrificing safety.” In addition, TVA said that it along with local power companies are taking proactive steps to temporarily reduce power supplies to certain local areas, which may create brief, intermittent power outages to homes and businesses.
The Knoxville Utility Board said that it is being required to reduce power load because of extreme demand on the electric system and that customers are likely to experience temporary outages until TVA provides more information. As of 3:00 p.m., less than 1,000 KUB customers were without power according to the board’s outage map. An additional tweet from KUB said it is striving to keep rolling outages to 15 minutes and is rotating outages across the service area until TVA lifts the requirement.
KUB updated just before 1:40 p.m. that TVA had lifted the rolling outage requirement, but crews were still working on restoration efforts from overnight damage caused by strong winds.
Appalachian Electric Cooperative also shared that the TVA was beginning 15-minute rolling blackouts on the circuits for Rutledge, Oak Grove, Jefferson City, and Piedmont. The cooperative also said that the blackouts will not affect critical loads, such as hospitals, but they would continue the blackouts as long as the TVA requests it. AEC announced around 1 p.m. that rolling blackouts had been terminated, but because of the high winds and downed trees, some members may still experience outages. Linemen are working on outages as they occur throughout the system, AEC said.
According to the release from Oak Ridge, the blackouts only impacted about 2% of Oak Ridge Electric Customers and lasted for about 30 minutes. Around 1 p.m., a spokesperson for the City of Oak Ridge said that the rolling blackouts for Oak Ridge had been terminated by the TVA.
Sevier County EMA also released that that Sevier County Electric System will be conducting the rolling blackouts as well.
Just after noon, Lenoir City Utility Board also announced the implementation of 15-minute rolling blackouts as mandated by TVA. around 1 p.m., LCUB said that TVA informed it that generator power was restored and the power outages had been terminated.
Earlier today, TVA asked people across East Tennessee to take a steps to reduce their power usage.
EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated with new information.