NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Thousands of Nashvillians spent the day without power Friday after frigid temperatures strained the Tennessee Valley Authority’s power grid and led to targeted blackouts throughout the state.
At the peak of the storm almost 72,000 customers were without power. As of 9 p.m., the number of people without power stands at 9,073.
According to NES, power has been restored to over 63,000 customers. Southeast Nashville was one of the hardest hit areas and many residents told NewsChannel 5 they were without power for the majority of the day.
Sitting in the dark, neighbors Bill Brassfield and Shirley Palmer said they never thought things would get this bad.
"I've been in bed covered up and sticking my head underneath it and breathing hard so I have the heat of my body. That's how I've been doing it," Brassfield said.
The two were without power for nearly five hours. During our interview, the power came on, and their relief was widespread. The frigid temperatures had already crept inside their homes making it feel 49 degrees inside.
But not everyone had the same luck. Down the street on Bell Road, everyone living at Hickory Hollow Towers had no access to power from 10:30 a.m. until 6:25 p.m.
Resident Victor Buhler said he was told target blackouts would occur every couple of hours and last 10 minutes, but for many in Southeast Nashville, the darkness lasted hours because of equipment malfunction at a substation.
"It's a real problem, and we need something done about it. We need NES to make this building a priority," he said.
It's a situation he hopes will not be repeated.
"Buildings like this, where we have senior citizens, we have people 70, 80 and 90 years old who have medical equipment, they have wheelchairs, they can't get down the elevator. We need this building to be a priority," Buhler said.
Councilmember Joy Styles who represents the majority of the Southeast Nashville area said she has called for a meeting with NES next month to talk about how to prevent something like this in the future.