Statement from Our President/CEO Tim Henderson Regarding the Power Events of December 23 & 24, 2022
On the mornings of December 23 and 24, Cleveland Utilities (CU) customers experienced intermittent interruptions in their electric service due to, for the first time in history, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) enacting Step 50 of the Emergency Load Curtailment Plan (ELCP). This event was unforeseen by TVA and CU. Winter Storm Elliott produced record cold temperatures, across the majority of the country, and TVA experienced record-setting energy demands on their system. The extremely cold temperatures drove energy demand high across the entire TVA footprint. This, combined with the unexpected loss of some of TVA’s generation assets, resulted in the necessity for TVA to enact step 50 of the ELCP where all their local power companies across the Valley were required to perform rolling blackouts on their systems. This helped to prevent far greater power interruptions to a more widespread area. TVA exhausted all resources before moving to this extreme measure.
While CU does have an existing plan in place for Step 50, this was the first time this specific step of the plan has been exercised. Our team responded and did an excellent job. It worked how it was designed and went well considering it had never been done before.
As with any event of this nature, there were learning opportunities and CU appreciates the feedback received from customers. One area in which CU has strived to improve on over the last few years is to provide timely and accurate information to customers. CU was not able to provide a lot of notice on these events, and this is not how we like to communicate with our customers. I hope the above helps to explain the situation in more detail and why such short notice was given. It was an emergency situation, and we provided the notice as fast as we possibly could. This was the first time, and our hope is it is the last time, we have to put Step 50 into action.
I understand you, our customers, were frustrated and inconvenienced by those rolling service interruptions especially during the holiday weekend. Rest assured, TVA exhausted all possibilities before moving to this step of the plan, and this was a necessity to prevent broader disruption of power across the greater Tennessee Valley. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience as we worked with our partners at TVA to manage this weather event to stabilize the grid. It was a challenge for everyone. We will learn from it and have already had follow-up meetings internally to determine areas where we can make improvements moving forward. Additionally, TVA has issued a statement advising they are conducting a thorough review of what occurred and why. They are committed to taking corrective actions in the weeks ahead to ensure they are prepared to manage significant events in the future. TVA is also obtaining feedback from their local power companies and direct serve customers and will be meeting with them as well.
Tim O. Henderson