Press Release

Statement on rolling blackouts in areas served by the Tennessee Valley Authority

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 24, 2022

CONTACT:
Bri Knisley, Tennessee Campaign Manager, bri@appvoices.org, (937) 725-0645
Molly Moore, Director of Program Communications, molly@appvoices.org, (847) 401-3633

During this weekend’s unusually low temperatures, people whose power is produced by the Tennessee Valley Authority and Duke Energy have experienced coordinated, rolling electricity blackouts to reduce electricity demand and prevent major grid outages that could take days or weeks to restore.

These outages have been affecting Duke’s direct residential customers as well as rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities that purchase their power from Duke or TVA. A statement on TVA’s website and social media around 12:30 p.m. Saturday announced that the utility has now ended planned intermittent interruptions, which took place throughout the service area on Friday and Saturday morning.

According to the Tennessean, “TVA had to reduce strain on its grid as demand for energy ran nearly 35% higher than expected on a typical winter day. At the same time, a few of its coal and gas energy facilities were down because of the freezing temperatures.”

Less than 3% of TVA’s power comes from solar and wind. None are currently reported to be offline as a result of freezing weather.

Statement from Tennessee Campaign Manager Bri Knisley

“Utilities are working hard to prevent catastrophic grid outages after four of TVA’s fossil fuel power plants dropped offline during freezing temperatures. These rolling blackouts can be dangerous in single-digit weather, especially for people who are medically dependent on electricity. Widespread investments in energy efficiency are critical for addressing increased demand as climate change causes these extreme weather events to become more frequent. Unfortunately, TVA slashed its energy efficiency programs over the years and these resources currently make up only 1% of the federal utility’s portfolio.”

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