TVA says winter storm had $170M impact

Published 3:03 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023

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An internal review from the Tennessee Valley Authority of a winter storm that led to rolling blackouts in late December showed a total $170 million impact.

That impact included increased fuel and purchased power costs, costs of repair and hardening of assets and lost revenue as local power companies and direct customers reduced power use.

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The rolling mandatory blackouts, just before Christmas, were the first time TVA had to require rolling blackouts in the company’s history. The company apologized for the power issues in the week after the storm and promised a complete investigation.

The company said average residential customers then saw an increase of around $5.20 apiece in February due to the December storm issues.

“The flow of information, both internally across the organization and externally with customers, stakeholders, and the public, was not timely or fully effective, which resulted in inconsistent messaging and lack of situational awareness and expectations, and slow internal coordinations, approvals and stakeholder responses,” the report said.

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 report labeled several areas where the company could improve after the storm, along with internal and external communication, saying better storm prediction could have had an impact along with better emergency procedures.

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.