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Washington
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Independent Panel Appointed by Tennessee Valley Authority to Investigate Power Failures and Rolling Blackouts

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced on Thursday that it has appointed an independent panel to investigate power failures that led to the decision to implement rolling blackouts during dangerously cold conditions late last year. These power failures were the primary factor in the decision to implement the rolling blackouts.

The public utility company has announced that retired Electric Power Research Institute CEO Mike Howard, former Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee, and American Public Power Association President Joy Ditto would serve on the panel as panelists.

In a statement, Don Moul, the chief operating officer for TVA, said that the newly appointed board members “bring enormous experience and skill not just in public power and energy systems, but also an awareness of the expanding energy demands of the area.”

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has said that it accepts full responsibility for the rolling blackouts that occurred on December 23 and 24, and it is now conducting an internal investigation into what took place.

On December 23, TVA recorded its greatest-ever winter peak-power demand at its facility.

The electric company said that the shutdown of its coal-burning Cumberland Fossil Plant was caused by a combination of strong winds and cold temperatures and that this resulted in vital instrumentation freezing up. According to a representative for the TVA named Scott Brooks, a second coal-burning facility known as Bull Run has also stopped operating. Brooks said that the power company “had difficulties at some of our natural gas facilities” as well.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reports that the majority of the local power companies it serves were successful in limiting the rolling blackouts to “quite brief periods” for the customers that rely on its energy. For example, on December 24 the Nashville Electric Service informed its customers that they should prepare for power interruptions lasting around 10 minutes every 1.5 to 2 hours.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation are investigating how power systems across the country operated during the winter storm. It is anticipated that TVA will play a role in the review that will be conducted by these two organizations.

In addition, the office of the inspector general for TVA has said that it is following the inquiry being conducted by the utility to assist in determining what sort of inspector general reviews would be necessary.

It is almost guaranteed that the rolling blackouts will be discussed at the TVA board meeting that will take place on February 16 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. This will be the first meeting with a new majority of members chosen by President Joe Biden.

Ten million people in various regions of seven Southern states get their electricity from TVA.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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