NES to spend $250 million on new winter storm communication system

The utility provider says its communication plan is in the development process.
After many Middle Tennesseans were left in the dark, NES has a new communication plan for winter weather.
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 7:17 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Nashville Electric Service is addressing its lack of communication with Middle Tennessee residents during last month’s extended power outages and promising they will improve.

One family who lost power in Antioch said NES needs to do better.

“I think the biggest issue was the lack of communication with us,” Kim Freeman said.

Freeman, her husband and three-year-old son had no idea what to do last month when their power went out for eight hours.

“We weren’t sure if we were going to wind up having to go on icy roads to a friend’s house, or if we could stay in our own home that night,” Freeman said.

The Freeman family waited all day for an update from NES, but they never received one. That was the case for the 20,000 people who lost power in southeast Nashville that day.

“People have been calling it, reporting and texting,” Carol Goodman of Nolensville said on December 23. “There has been no communication back to us.”

Three weeks later, NES acknowledged the issue. At a community meeting Thursday, NES told residents they’re committing $250 million to their communication system to provide push notifications.

“We will be providing that kind of upgrade coming soon onto our network,” NES said.

NES told WSMV 4 these improvements will not directly impact power bills. WSMV 4 also asked when push notifications will start, how people can sign up and in what situations they will be sent. NES told us its “communication plan is still in the development process.”

Freeman said she wants to know more.

“I am curious about the rest of the plan to see what other things they might need to take accountability for,” Freeman said.

In Thursday’s meeting, NES also said they will be adding on the hour updates to their network soon.