By Jon Styf
(The Center Square) — The Tennessee Valley Authority apologized Wednesday for its power issues over the weekend, saying it was the first time in TVA’s 90-year history that it had to institute temporary blackouts.
With much of Tennessee seeing low temperatures over the weekend, TVA had power issues that led it to demand local power companies reduce electricity load by 5% for two hours and 15 minutes on Friday and then 5% to 10% reductions on Saturday for five hours and 40 minutes.
Those mandatory rolling blackouts came as many Tennessee residents lost power for extended periods during the winter storm.
“We are conducting a thorough review of what occurred and why,” TVA said in a statement. “We are committed to sharing these lessons learned and – more importantly – the corrective actions we take in the weeks ahead to ensure we are prepared to manage significant events in the future.”
TVA said in its statement that it takes full responsibility for the power loss. The company did not say what the issues were that led to the need for the blackouts, but the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that TVA said during a weekend call with local power companies that it had issues with electricity supply, including losing natural gas plants, at least two coal power plants and issues with third-party plants scheduled to be available for additional supply when necessary.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is the largest public power corporation in the country, generating 90% of the state’s electric generating capacity and three-fifth of its power plants. It is federally owned and serves 10 million by providing electricity to 153 local power companies.
The top source of electricity generation in Tennessee is nuclear power plants, which provide 47% of the state’s electricity while 20% comes from natural gas and 18% from coal. All three of the TVA nuclear plants — Brown’s Ferry (Alabama) and Sequoyah and Watts Bar (Tennessee) — were generating power at 100% capacity during the cold snap, according to data from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies.
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.