Historically cold temperatures across the region during the holidays prompted a series of “rolling blackouts” by local power companies when the Tennessee Valley Authority issued a request to limit power.
According to a press release issued by TVA on Dec. 28, 2022, company representatives said they are “taking full responsibility” and “conducting a thorough review” into why the grid couldn’t handle the power usage to take corrective actions in the future.
“With sustained record-breaking cold temperatures and high winds, winter storm “Elliott” strained power grids across the nation late last week. During a 24-hour period on Friday, Dec. 23, TVA supplied more power than at any other time in its nearly 90-year history. This event also produced the highest winter power peak in TVA history,” the release noted.
Company representatives said this was the first time in its 90-year history they had to direct targeted load curtailments due to extreme power demand.
On two occasions during a 24-hour period, TVA directed local power companies to reduce power consumption. On Friday, Dec. 23, a 5 percent system-wide power consumption reduction for two hours and 15 minutes. And on Saturday, Dec. 24, a system-wide power consumption reduction in 5-10 percent curtailments for 5 hours and 40 minutes. Most of the local power companies were able to target power reductions that impacted customers for relatively short durations.
This was asked of 153 power companies across TVA’s coverage area. TVA reps noted TVA supplied more power – 740 gigawatt-hours – than at any other time in its history on Dec. 23, 2022. This event also produced TVA’s all-time highest winter power peak power demand. The region-wide temperature average was reported at nine degrees.
TVA reported typical power demands for December are around 24,000 megawatts. On December 23, 2022, power demands surpassed 33,000 megawatts, the company reported. Local power companies asked customers to lower thermostats and reduce energy companies during the rolling blackouts.
TVA made more requests to cut off power for intermittent periods until mid-morning on Christmas Eve.
“We at TVA take full responsibility for the impact we had on our customers. We never want to impact anyone’s energy at any time. This is not the way we want to serve our communities and customers. We are conducting a thorough review of what occurred and why. 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. … We will learn from this unprecedented event and are committed to providing you with the reliable service you expect and deserve,” TVA’s Dec. 28, 2022, press release noted.