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TVA: Energy Consumption Almost Forced Rolling Outages

Cold temperatures across the area last Friday placed additional demands on the power system, and Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative and the Tennessee Valley Authority—while working to keep the power on—were forced to announce possible rolling outages.

At press time on Friday (early due to the Christmas holiday), MLEC said the outages had been averted for the time being.

Perry County Commissioner Rodger Barber, who was in touch with TVA, said just before the announcement that the power supplier was working to get the Cumberland City plant online to meet the additional energy demands.

In the midst of the threatened outages, Barber told the Review, “A friend of mine from TVA has all crews on deck and the units are tripping. They set a record earlier this morning for the most power ever consumed. They are trying to keep up.”

Friday morning, MLEC announced, “Local power companies plan to blackout areas for short periods of time. MLEC’s plan involves dropping breakers in each substation for approximately an hour at a time.

“The sequence begins in Erin before rolling to another area in this anticipated order: McEwen, New Johnsonville, Lobelville, Shipps Bend, Linden, Hohenwald, Hilltop, and South Waverly.

“This will help ensure that consumers have at least a periodic supply of electricity. Breakers feeding critical infrastructure and care facilities will not be affected,” the press release stated.

The announcement that the outages had been avoided was made around noon.

During extremely cold weather, residents can help reduce their future power bills—and help ensure continued reliable power for the area—by taking a few simple actions, recommended by MLEC:

Turning thermostats down just a degree or two makes a big difference.  For every degree below 68, the savings could be as much as three percent of your future power bills.

Delay using large appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and electric dryers during peak demand periods—typically between 6 and 9:00 p.m. and morning hours.

If the weather is sunny, open your window coverings on the sunny side of the house to let nature’s heat help keep you comfortable.  Keep the window coverings closed on shaded sides to help add insulation to keep the heat indoors.

Additional energy saving tips for keeping your house comfortable and lowering power bills all year long can be found at

During temperature extremes, don’t forget to check on relatives, friends, and neighbors to ensure their safety. Pets and livestock will also need a helping hand.

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