Monday's AT&T cellular outage caused by Pickwick Electric Cooperative


In today’s world, electronic communications are vital.

So it was no surprise when social media networks in Savannah lit up with outrage Monday when the local AT&T cell network went down.

Friday morning, Pickwick Electric Cooperative said it caused the AT&T service outage by digging before an area where work was needed was properly marked.

AT&T work crew in Crump where a fiber optic line was cut.

“PEC employees were changing out a pole on the morning of Dec. 3 that was damaged by an auto accident. PEC employees requested a Tennessee One-Call and received a one-call effective date of Dec. 3, but failed to realize the effective ‘can-dig’ time was 1:30 p.m. PEC is sorry for any inconvenience this issue may have caused,” said Brad Howell, PEC vice president in charge of human resources and communications.

The geographical extent of the service disruption and how many customers were affected was not available Friday afternoon despite repeated requests from the newspaper to AT&T.

AT&T did say that “services were restored for customers in parts of Savannah who were affected by a fiber cut Monday caused by an electric company doing work in the area. Our team worked as quickly as possible to resolve the problem and service is running normally. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

Those in Savannah and many surrounding Hardin County areas using AT&T suddenly lost cell service mid-morning Monday. There were reports from businesses that land lines were also affected.

During the outage, an AT&T representative told The Courier that six cell towers were out of service and that it could be as late as 2 a.m. Tuesday before service was restored. No reason for the outage was given at that time. Service was restored around 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

The incident is a reminder that important communications or other utility lines can be anywhere. Hitting a natural gas line can even have explosive consequences.

Tennessee811 is a free service designed to prevent the accidental cutting of lines.

Before digging, call 800-351-1111, or visit for more information.