Nashville Mayor John Cooper on Saturday urged the NFL’s Tennessee Titans to postpone their scheduled noon CT game amid ongoing rolling blackouts due to the winter storm.
“I’ve been informed that (Tennessee Valley Authority’s) unilateral rolling blackouts will continue. All non-essential businesses should reduce power usage,” Cooper said in a tweet. “I’ve asked the Titans to postpone their 12pm game in solidarity with our neighbors. TVA needs to invest in infrastructure to withstand extreme temps.”
The Titans (7-7), losers of four straight games, are set to play the Houston Texans (1-12-1) at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
CNN has reached out to the NFL and the Titans for comment.
Cooper, the mayor of Metro Nashville and Davidson County, issued the tweet after the Tennessee Valley Authority directed local power companies to reduce their power load due to record-high demand and generation issues stemming from the brutal cold and heavy winds that have wrecked holiday plans across the country.
Specifically, the TVA told local power companies to interrupt power in 15-minute intervals, according to a tweet from CDE Lightband, a local power company out of Clarksville, Tennessee. Similarly, the Nashville Electric Service told customers Saturday morning to expect “rotating, intermittent power outages” in about 10-minute increments every one-and-a-half to two hours.
The TVA, a federally owned electric utility company, works with 153 local local power companies across seven states to power the region. The authority said it set an all-time December peak power demand on Friday, and Chief Operating Officer Don Moul said the agency “lost some generation” due to the extreme cold and high winds.
“Planned intermittent interruptions support system reliability,” the TVA said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and support as we manage this unprecedented demand.”
In general, prolonged cold snaps can overwhelm the power grid by simultaneously knocking out power supply and causing a sharp increase in demand as residents turn up the heat. For example, in Texas in February 2021, a winter storm and lengthy cold period caused mass outages in areas served by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, leaving millions of residents in the cold and dark for nearly a week.
The TVA informed residents on Friday there would be rolling blackouts due to the winter storm, though that directive was later rescinded.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told CNN on Friday hospitals and medical offices were exempt. The TVA did not anticipate the extent of the situation prior to the storm, he said.
“This is a real struggle. This has never happened in my lifetime, this hasn’t happened in Memphis in at least 50 years,” Strickland said Friday.
On Saturday morning, he said the rolling blackouts across Memphis impacted more than 50,000 people for about 30 to 60 minutes at a time, likely two to three times per day.
“TVA has always prided itself on reliability. This is the first time TVA has required rolling blackouts,” Strickland told CNN. “It’s going to take a deeper dive into the reasons this happened.”
Strickland said that temperatures are not expected to rise above 32 degrees Fahrenheit for at least the next two days.
The outages and rolling blackouts have affected much of the US, particularly the Southeast.
As of 11 a.m. ET Saturday, Tennessee has about 250,000 customers without power, and North Carolina has over 380,000 customers without power, according to the website PowerOutage.US. In Davidson County, Tennessee, which includes Nashville, more than 60% of customers were without power, the site says.
Duke Energy, the electric power company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday morning announced “emergency outages” as extremely cold temperature drive unusually high energy demand across the Carolinas.
“We have begun short, temporary power outages. These emergency outages are necessary to protect the energy grid against longer, more widespread outages. We appreciate your patience,” the energy provider said in a tweet.