Wild Weather? No Problem.

Winter storm Jonas had the potential to seriously disrupt TVA’s service throughout the Valley from Memphis to Bristol. But due to the professional and proactive efforts of many hard-working TVA employees, the overall impacts were minimal.

Throughout the weather event, TVA’s meteorologists closely monitored the rapidly changing conditions, providing frequent reports and updates. All Transmission and Power Supply employees were placed on standby, and TVA coordinated with local power companies (LPCs) to pre-position personnel and equipment to respond quickly to any power interruptions.

Heavy equipment and helicopters were pre-staged at several locations, and right-of-way contractors were placed on standby to clear trees if necessary. Both TVA’s Transmission Emergency Operations Center (TEOC) and the External Relations Emergency Operations Center (EREOC) were partially activated and LPC issues were communicated via WebEOC, with approximately 3,250 end-users from middle Tennessee and Kentucky online by Friday afternoon.

On Friday January 22, as temperatures dropped, load peaked at 24,961 MW, but the fleet was in good shape with a surplus of wind and hydro, providing 6,000 MW of reserves. Even during Sunday morning’s 8:00 am peak of 26,218 MW, there were still 4,000 MW of reserves. TVA then shed nearly 8,000 MW of generation when load bottomed out at 18,453 MW just eight hours later.

“Many of our employees adjusted their schedules—some folks stayed past their shift, others came in early. Through it all, there was outstanding collaboration across the company to manage our assets,” said David Sorrick, vice president, eastern coal and gas.

Overall, the transmission outages were minor, and confined to one area that was hit hardest by the storm—an area reaching from Hickman County in southwest Kentucky to the Union City area in northwest Tennessee. The outages there were created when high winds caused transmission lines (380’ spans) to touch, resulting in an interruption. Video of this phenomenon was popular on TVA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TVA. Customer loads were quickly restored by re-routing power, and the longest outage was a little over five hours.

As with the wild weather events in December of 2015, social media proved useful in keeping TVA stakeholders and the media informed, reaching thousands of users with updates. Many of the comments posted were complimentary to employees. “Thank you to all the hard working men and women of TVA that work out in the elements to keep the electrons flowing!” said a Facebook user.

During this hazardous weather event, TVA had zero recordable injuries. “I’m pleased with our preparation, teamwork and response, but most importantly, that we worked without injuries,” said Chip Pardee, executive vice president and chief operating officer.