Ky. lawmakers question utility companies on rolling blackouts
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The House and Senate Committees on Natural Resources and Energy met jointly on Thursday trying to get answers on how December’s winter storm led to widespread outages in the Commonwealth.
Multiple utility companies that serve the state took questions from lawmakers.
Boardwalk Pipelines, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Kentucky Utilities all say they took steps in advance to prepare for the winter storm at Christmastime.
And they say the ensuing temperatures weren’t unprecedented.
“They were extreme lows, but our operational assets have functioned properly at these temperatures in the past,” said Aaron Melda of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Even still, many Kentuckians lost power due to rolling blackouts or service interruptions on December 23. So what went wrong?
“From 0100 to 0600, we went from an average temperature of 45 degrees to 5,″ Melda said.
These companies say the drastic changes in weather conditions and temps caused critical equipment to malfunction and even led TVA to buy from neighboring power grids at a much higher rate.
Republican lawmakers then took them to task over the lack of reliability in providing this energy and their decisions to close coal plants.
“What market forces have driven that? Because every time you come up here, you hear from a panel that largely supports coal, and we represent constituencies that depend on coal, and it makes our power among the cheapest in the country,” said Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Fruitt Hill.
TVA also admitted to failing to communicate when rolling blackouts were going to hit their customers amid the cold.
TVA and KU say they are reviewing their actions during the storm and taking steps to ensure it won’t happen again.
Copyright 2023 WKYT. All rights reserved.