Note: This story was last updated at 12 p.m.
Mandatory rolling power blackouts continued in Oak Ridge and across the region Saturday morning. The City of Oak Ridge announced at about 11:40 a.m. Saturday that the power outages had been terminated.
Here is the previous story:
The blackouts will affect 10 percent of customers at a time, and power outages will last about 30 minutes, the City of Oak Ridge said in a press release. That’s a larger percentage of customers who will be affected by the Saturday outages than the ones on Friday, when about 2 percent of Oak Ridge customers were affected.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, which provides power to the City of Oak Ridge, said the blackouts are necessary because of the extreme weather conditions, according to the press release. The power demand is high as temperatures have dropped into the single digits in what has been called a “once-in-a-generation” storm.
TVA said the power demand is among its highest in its nearly 90-year history. Typical power demands for December are around 24,000 megawatts. On Friday, power demands surpassed 33,000 megawatts, TVA said.
“To help ensure the stability of the power grid across the entire region, TVA implemented and directed prepared plans to temporarily reduce power loads, working directly with local power companies,” TVA said.
“Our goal is always to provide reliable power, but the steps local power companies, industrial customers and every individual have taken to conserve power have minimized any impacts on families in the region,” said Don Moul, TVA’s chief operating officer.
The city said the blackouts were “not optional as the outages are essential to prevent uncontrolled extended outages on the TVA system. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause for some of our customers.”
The city said it will post updates on social media when the mandatory blackouts end, or when the city gets more information.
TVA recommended a few steps to help keep the power on and reduce electric bills as the cold weather is expected to continue over the weekend.
First, lower your thermostats by a degree or two. “Public safety is of utmost importance during dangerously cold weather, so don’t make big adjustments, but every degree can help save on future power bills,” TVA said.
Second, delay doing laundry or running your dishwasher until the warmest part of the day and turn off unnecessary lights and electronics.
Finally, when the sun is out, open window coverings on the sunny side of homes and offices, but close window coverings at night and when the sun isn’t brightly shining.
“This continues to be a rapidly evolving situation and, working with our partners, we remain committed to doing everything possible to keep the essential power grid stable and resilient,” Moul said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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