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Tennessee public power utilities restore power in wake of snowstorms

December 30, 2020

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
December 30, 2020

Public power utilities in Tennessee in the last week of December restored power to customers affected by snowstorms that hit the state.

On Dec. 24, Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) tweeted that its crews were working to restore power throughout the day and monitoring and responding to any outage events throughout the night as snow fell. Crews worked overnight to reduce outages to less than 9,000 after the heavy snow, KUB subsequently reported on Dec. 25.

KUB in a Dec. 26 update said that approximately 60 crews were working to restore power including assistance from Lenoir City Utility Board and Appalachian Electric Cooperative, crews from Nashville and Jackson, Tennessee, and crews from Alabama, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

In the update, KUB reported that large numbers of trees and wires were reported down following the storm. “Although KUB has made significant progress since yesterday, the heavy, wet snow and freezing temperatures are causing additional limbs and trees to fall, creating additional outages,” the public power utility reported in the Dec. 26 update.

KUB noted that crews have had challenges accessing the lines due to the number of downed trees and other damage. “Even getting to the job has been difficult in some cases where snow and ice has made travel treacherous.”

Every job is different, but a typical repair job can take up to four to six hours, while replacing a pole can take a minimum of six to eight hours, the utility said.  Given these challenges, a definite time frame for restoration of specific areas was not available, as of the Dec. 26 update. At the time of the 9 a.m. update, KUB reported approximately 3,300 customers without power.

In a Dec. 28 tweet, KUB said that crews continued restoration efforts for just under 20 customers, down from more than 31,000 customers who lost power after Thursday’s snow.

Meanwhile, Tennessee public power utility Newport Utilities (NU) reported on Dec. 30 that as of 9:00 a.m. it had 227 outages remaining. “Multiple crews from surrounding areas are assisting NU electric crews in replacing broken poles and untangling the gnarly mess of downed spans of electric wire. The goal is to restore power to the remaining areas today,” it said in a Facebook post.

And less than 1,000 Sevier County, Tenn., residents remained without power following a Christmas Eve blackout that impacted more than 20,000, reported Tennessee’s WVLT on Dec. 28.

The latest updates on power outages can be found on Sevier County Electric System’s website.

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