High-voltage power towers 'twisted like bow ties'

photo Damaged transmission lines at TVA's Widows Creek Fossil Fuel Plant block Jackson County Highway 96 in Bridgeport. Staff Photo by Dan Henry - The Chattanooga Times Free Press

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With more than 90 high-voltage power transmission lines bent like pipe cleaners by the tornadoes, about 119,000 customers in TVA's seven-state region were still without electricity Monday evening because TVA couldn't supply its distributors.

"We saw TVA power transmission lines twisted like bow ties," said Eric Holweg, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Holweg, who was in Bradley County on Friday, called damage there the worst he's ever seen.

TVA spokeswoman Barbara Martocci said the agency has tasked more than 4,000 utility crewmen and contractors to reroute and make temporary repairs to the 500-kilovolt and 161-kilovolt lines, which carry electricity from TVA power plants to distributors such as EPB and North Alabama Electric Cooperative, which serves Bridgeport.

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