Minute with the mayor

Power outages in the city

Posted

Question:

It seems we have had several power outages in the city the past few weeks, can you explain why this is so, and is there any way to better inform the public?

Mayor Lowery: 

There are very few times within a year that we plan the power outages that occur.  When we have scheduled maintenance on our grid system that requires a shutdown, we attempt to inform the industrial factories, businesses, and the citizens of when and why the outage will take place. 

Our problem occurs when an unplanned outage happens.  We have had several vehicle accidents where the electric pole was hit and caused damage to the pole and the wiring.  Once a pole has taken a hit and the structure of the pole is damaged, then we must install a new pole and often new wiring. 

We have had several outages that were caused by squirrels and other animals that have climbed the pole and created a short in the system.  When this happens, a fuse usually blows, and that is a simple fix for our trained linemen.  If the transformer is damaged, then that takes longer to repair. 

In the event of the TVA requiring “rolling outages” that were experienced during the cold streak, which, by the way was the first rolling outage in 90 years, then the city must take action.

When they (TVA) cannot keep up with the demand, then the city is placed on a step system, and, depending on the TVA restrictions, we must lower our usage by certain percentages set by the TVA.  In those cases, we feel like it’s better to do rolling outages to allow people some time with their electricity on.  As long as we meet that desired percentage, then we can adjust how we cut that power.  So, we cut power in various areas of town for approximately 15 minutes, and this allows the citizens power for about 45 minutes.  We then start the process all over again until TVA releases us from the required outages.  If we did not meet those required percentages, then TVA can shut down any way they choose.  Know this, we at city hall will do all we can to inform the citizens of any issues with our departments and the services provided by the city.  We also will take every precaution to keep our linemen and crews safe during the repair process.

I want to thank all the citizens of Sparta for their patience as we strive to serve you better.

Be safe out there.        

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