Electric co-ops restore power to 68,000 overnight

Published 9:38 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

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Staff Reports

TUCKER, Ga. – Days before Hurricane Idalia’s Category 3 winds started toppling trees onto power lines, the state’s electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) began planning on restoring electricity.

EMCs serving South Georgia are working from their emergency storm plans, having launched damage assessments and restoration work as soon as the most dangerous weather moved through and it was safe for crews to operate in the area.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, there were approximately 63,000 customers without power across more than a dozen counties in southeast Georgia, less than half the 131,000 original number of outages in Idalia’s aftermath. EMC representatives warn that restoration in some of the hardest hit areas could take days, and they arranged for additional crews and equipment from unaffected parts of Georgia and from outside the state to expedite the restoration process.

Still, replacing one pole can take 4-5 hours, including removing fallen trees and reconnecting broken wires. The hurricane’s powerful winds destroyed hundreds of poles, many where access is difficult in normal conditions.

Line workers ask that members of the public keep off roads to allow trucks and equipment room to remove debris and access damaged poles and wires.

The public should be mindful of the risks of downed power lines. An energized line on the ground can pose a danger 35 feet or more away without any obvious signs of carrying electricity. Stay away and report downed lines to your electric company or call 911.

EMC members should contact their local EMC to report power outages.

Georgia EMC is the statewide trade association representing the state’s 41 EMCs, Oglethorpe Power Corp., Georgia Transmission Corp. and Georgia System Operations Corp.  Collectively, Georgia’s customer-owned EMCs provide electricity and related services to 4.4 million people, nearly half of Georgia’s population, across 73 percent of the state’s land area. To learn more, visit www.georgiaemc.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.