Regional power supplier nearing critical stage

Published 8:48 am Saturday, December 24, 2022

A map of Saturday morning power outages provided by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency

The Tennessee Valley Authority is sounding the alarm on power consumption for all customers.

What began as 30-minute rolling outages advanced to 15 or 20-minute rolling blackouts Saturday morning. The TVA provides power for dozens of municipal, county, and other power providers in several states, including Mississippi. Statewide power outages had decreased Friday, but the number climbed back to nearly 20,000 outages Saturday morning. Oktibbeha County is reporting nearly one-third of its customers without power, approaching 5,100 customers. Not all statewide outages are due to the TVA blackouts.

“Due to continued unprecedented cold temperatures resulting in high power demand, TVA has directed local power companies to reduce load to maintain system stability,” a TVA statement read. “Planned intermittent interruptions, also known as rolling blackouts, will continue to support system reliability. We appreciate everyone’s patience and support as we manage this unprecedented demand.”

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The TVA began hinting of the potential of trouble Friday morning with requests to reduce power consumption by lowering thermostats, reducing or eliminating dishwasher and other large appliance usage, and other reductions. When that wasn’t enough, the rolling blackouts began.

Outages will impact all TVA customers. In Mississippi, customers receiving electricity from the following services will be involved: Northcentral EPA, Holly Springs, Tippah EPA, Alcorn County EPA, Tishomingo EPA, Prentiss County EPA, New Albany, Oxford, North East Mississippi EPA, Tallahatchie Valley EPA, Water Valley, Pontotoc EPA, Tupelo, Amory, Okalona, Natchez Trace EPA, West Point, Aberdeen, Monroe County EPA, Starkville, 4-County EPA, Columbus, Central EPA, Louisville, Macon, Philadelphia, and East Mississippi EPA.

There is no official timeline on how long the planned blackouts will continue. A statement blamed extreme cold temperatures on increased power consumption.