Winter weather pushes TVA power demand to 3-year high for winter peak

But Tennessee Valley avoids power problems faced in Texas

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Snow clings to a branch of a tree on Lookout Mountain during the snowfall on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021.

The winter storm that brought snow and frigid temperatures to much of America pushed the power demand in the Tennessee Valley to the highest winter peak in more than three years Tuesday night as below-freezing temperatures and snow gripped much of the region and pushed higher use of electric furnaces, space heaters and heat pumps.

With temperatures averaging around 18 degrees Fahrenheit across its seven-state region, the Tennessee Valley Authority reported power consumption rose to 28,511 megawatts shortly after 8 p.m. EST Tuesday - the highest winter power peak since January 2018.

Despite rolling blackouts and power shortages due to frigid temperatures in Texas, TVA officials said Wednesday the federal utility easily met its power demand this week and was able to sell some of its power to neighboring Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. and Entergy. While some local power companies had some power lines downed by wind and falling ice-covered trees in Memphis, Crossville and other areas in TVA's northern part of its service territory, TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said there were no problems generating and transmitting its power to the 153 municipalities and power co-ops that serve nearly 10 million people in parts of seven Southeastern states.

"We have not encountered any challenges with supplying our service area," Hopson said. "Right now, we're holding our own which is a real testament to the preparation and hard work not only for us but by our local power companies to keep the power on. There have been some distribution lines impacted by falling trees due to some ice in some areas, but so far TVA has been able to maintain its supply across our service area."

EPB spokesman J.Ed. Marston said the Chattanooga utility reported no weather-related power outages Tuesday. Temperatures remain cool but the high is forecast to reach 45 degrees Fahrenheit Thursday in Chattanooga.

Tuesday's power peak was far short of TVA's all-time winter peak of 33,345 reached in January 2014 when an arctic blast dropped the average temperature in TVA's seven-state region to only 14 degrees.

TVA's all-time power peak was reached in the summer of 2007 when temperatures across the valley averaged 102 degrees and the peak demand jumped to 33,482 megawatts from heavy electricity consumption for air conditioners.

TVA maintains a summer power capacity of 36,937 megawatts from a variety of nuclear, gas, coal, hydroelectric, solar and wind generation. TVA is America's biggest publicly owned utility, the nation's second largest transmission system with 16,300 miles of high-voltage lines and the third largest electricity generator in the country with annual power sales of more than $10 billion.

Contact Dave Flessner at or at 423-757-6340.