HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Officials with Huntsville Utilities faced city councilmembers Thursday to explain its decision to initiate rolling blackouts during some of December’s coldest days.

Thousands of customers in the Rocket City were in the dark as temperatures dangerously dropped as low as 3 degrees Fahrenheit just after the Christmas weekend.

The plan nearly backfired.

According to Wes Kelley, the chief executive officer for Huntsville Utilities, the blackouts were implemented due to a high demand for power.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) called for a five percent reduction at 5 a.m. on Saturday, December. TVA asked power companies across the area to implement rolling blackouts to prevent the grid from failing. Kelley said up to 127,000 customers were affected.

“Because it was the first time it was done, it did take some time to get ourselves put together,” said Kelley. “But the team responded very quickly, and you saw that efficiency implemented on Saturday when the rolling blackouts were implemented.”

Kelley explained to the council there was a lot of concern about entering “Step 50” of TVA’s load curtailment program, which he added was a “first-ever” scenario. It was also the first time in nearly 100 years that a rolling blackout had to be implemented in North Alabama.

“Indeed, with the future improvements we will make, I have no doubt about our ability to continue to meet whatever responsibilities we have to meet to keep our regional grids stable,” Kelley said.

He added the plan is to keep building new substations to better handle power overloads. Many of those substations should be finished within the next year.