KNOXVILLE, Tenn., May 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Tennessee Valley Authority made significant progress over the weekend in restoring power lines, poles, steel transmission structures and other equipment damaged during Wednesday's severe storms and tornadoes.
As of Monday afternoon, TVA had restored all but eight of the 128 connection points originally damaged that serve local power companies. TVA estimated about 152,000 homes and businesses still were without electric service. The power restoration work involved three primary steps: repairing extensively damaged transmission lines; linking generation sources; and resupplying power to the repaired lines.
About 4,000 TVA employees and contractors were working around the clock across areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, where more than 675,000 customers lost electric service in storms on April 27.
"While we are a long way from completing the work in front of us, we have restored power to the connection points with the majority of our local power companies and large industrial customers," TVA Chief Operating Officer Bill McCollum said. "As more connections and equipment are repaired, the focus shifts to returning power to our transmission grid."
A large portion of TVA's 500-kilovolt and 161-kilovolt lines serving north Alabama and Mississippi were knocked out during the storms. TVA also shut down Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant and units at Widows Creek Fossil Plant, both in Alabama, because of the storms' impact to the transmission grid.
The Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant remains in safe shutdown condition while repairs are under way to power lines in northern Alabama. The Browns Ferry reactors, which shut down safely as designed during the storms, will be re-started when the transmission system is sufficiently repaired to transport power from the plant.
Diesel generators are operating in combination with two off-site 161-kilovolt transmission lines to provide the plant with electric power. This combination of power supplies will continue until the power lines surrounding the plant are repaired, and the diesel generators can be turned off.
"The public's safety is always our top priority," McCollum said. "We're asking people to stay away from downed power lines and to call their local utility or emergency officials."
TVA must rebuild a large portion of its transmission system, McCollum said. "Just like homes that were damaged take time to be rebuilt, repairing the transmission system will be a lengthy process."
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states at prices below the national average. TVA, which receives no taxpayer money and makes no profits, also provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists utilities and state and local governments with economic development.
Note: Please follow link for latest video and high-resolution photos of transmission system repairs http://www.tva.com/storm.
SOURCE Tennessee Valley Authority