TVA Power Line Problem Results in Power Outage for North Rutherford County

At least three houses were damaged yesterday on Atlas Drive in North Rutherford County as a result of a high-voltage Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) transmission line coming within close proximity of a tree.

No one was injured and the Red Cross was on site quickly to care for those affected. The Red Cross and TVA are assisting with temporary housing for those affected by power and water outages.

“TVA contacted Middle Tennessee Electric almost immediately to let us know that a tree had grown too close to their transmission lines, resulting in an electric arc between the power line and the tree,” said Chris Jones, MTE CEO and President. “At such high voltage, this can be a very dangerous situation and we’re relieved to learn that no one was injured. MTE is working with TVA and will offer any assistance needed to TVA and our impacted members.”

At 12:09, TVA transmission operators received notification of an interruption on the Murfreesboro – Lebanon 161-kilovolt line, resulting in a brief power outage to more than 8,000 Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) members in north Rutherford County.

At 12:28 (19 minutes), a section of the line was returned to service, while the Murfreesboro-Compton Road section of the line remained out of service.

Along the Murfreesboro-Compton Road section of the line, the power line sagged close to a tree located within the wire zone, resulting in damage to at least three houses on Atlas Drive.

Two houses sustained fire damage and are without power or water. One house is without water. Others may be affected.

Damage indicates a tree was close enough for power to arc from the line to the tree. Power (161,000 volts) then went through the tree to the ground where it traveled to a carport and the house. The tree was near a metal fence, so the power also traveled along the fence to the house. Underground water pipes allowed the power to travel to neighboring houses.

For public safety and to maintain reliable power, electric utilities keep vegetation away from power lines. MTE has a rigorous vegetation management program to manage vegetation growth around the rights of way for its electric distribution lines.

TVA establishes two zones within a transmission line right of way – wire zones and border zones.

  • In the wire zones directly under the lines, only low-growing, non-woody plants are allowed.
  • In the border zones between the edge of the right of way and the lines, with prior approval, low-growing trees and shrubs are allowed.

Visit for a list of compatible vegetation and additional rights of way information.

For more information on MTE Vegetation Management Program, please visit:

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