The NFL’s Tennessee Titans delayed their scheduled noon CT game by an hour due to power outages in the area, which have since ended, stemming from the winter storm and brutal cold.
“Due to the extreme weather and power outages in our area, kickoff for tonight’s game has been pushed back an hour to 1 p.m. CT,” the Titans said in a statement.
“This decision was made in conjunction with the NFL, the Office of Emergency Management, the Nashville Electric Service and the Mayor’s Office to ensure the game did not negatively impact our community in any way. We are exploring every opportunity to minimize non-essential energy around the stadium.”
The Titans (7-7), losers of four straight games, began their game against the Houston Texans (1-12-1) at Nissan Stadium in Nashville at 1 p.m. CT. The temperature at kick-off was 22 degrees, making it the coldest game in Nissan Stadium’s history, according to the CBS show.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, the federal electric utility that powers seven states in the region, had ordered local electric companies to reduce their electricity loads for periods on Friday and Saturday due to weather-related record demand and power generation problems.
Chief Operating Officer Don Moul told the agency Due to the extreme cold and high winds, “a few generations were lost,” and the authority urged residents to conserve electricity. Still, the TVA said Saturday it had delivered more electricity in the past 24 hours than at any time in its history.
The agency ended the rolling blackouts Saturday midday after temperatures rose slightly and power system conditions improved, the TVA said.
“We recognize that these planned temporary disruptions are challenging, but they were necessary to maintain grid stability for 10 million people across seven states,” the agency said. “Thank you for doing your part to save energy and help us manage this extreme weather event.”
On Saturday morning, local utilities said they were ordered to cut power for brief power surges. CDE Lightband, a Clarksville, Tennessee-based utility company, said the TVA to interrupt electricity every 15 minutes.
Likewise the Nashville Electric Services told customers on Saturday morning to expect “rotating, intermittent power outages” in about 10-minute increments every hour and a half to two hours.
Amid the blackouts, Nashville Mayor John Cooper had urged the Titans to postpone their game, and said that “all non-essential businesses should reduce electricity consumption”. He issued a follow-up tweet saying he guessed the decision to postpone the game by an hour.
In general, prolonged cold snaps can overload the grid, simultaneously shutting down power and causing a sharp spike in demand as residents turn up the heat. For example, in Texas in February 2021, a winter storm and prolonged cold spell caused mass outages in areas served by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, leaving millions of residents cold and dark for nearly a week.
The TVA told residents Friday there would be power outages due to the winter storm, though that policy was later lifted.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told CNN Friday hospitals and doctor’s offices are exempt. The TVA did not anticipate the magnitude of the situation before the storm, he said.
“It’s a real fight. It’s never happened in my life, it hasn’t happened in Memphis for at least 50 years,” Strickland said Friday.
On Saturday morning, he said the rolling power outages in Memphis had affected more than 50,000 people for about 30 to 60 minutes each, probably two to three times a day.
“TVA has always prided itself on reliability. This is the first time TVA has required rolling blackouts,” Strickland told CNN. “It will provide a deeper insight into the reasons why this happened.”
Strickland said temperatures will not rise above 32 degrees Fahrenheit for at least the next two days.
The outages and rolling blackouts have hit large parts 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 website PowerOutage.US. In Davidson County, Tennessee, which includes Nashville, more than 60% of customers were without power, the website said.
Duke Energy, the electric company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, announced “emergency outages” Saturday morning as extremely cold temperatures are causing unusually high energy demands in the Carolinas.
“We started with short, temporary power outages. These emergency outages are necessary to protect the power grid from longer and more widespread outages. We appreciate your patience.” the utility said in a tweet.