Crews restoring power after storm outages

Monday, July 2, 2012 9:50 AM
Last updated 7:19 PM
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Georgia Power crews are working to restore power after storms moved through the area Sunday evening.

Spokeswoman Lynn Wallace said about 420 people in Augusta and 190 people in Evans are still without electricity.

She expects power will be restored shortly. Crews from across the state have been pulled to the area to assist in the cleanup.

“We’re really in the cleanup phase at this point,” she said.

Sunday night’s surprise storms across the state with hail and lightning triggered more than 600 power outages that left as many as 130,000 Georgia Power customers in the dark.

Crews working through the night restored power to most, but by 9 a.m. there were still 20,000 customers in Savannah, Brunswick and along the coast without electricity, according to company spokeswoman Carol Boatright.

“Because there are so many separate events, it’s going to be slow,” she said.

Though most of the 800 events that created the outages were storm-related, some resulted from the heat. The record temperatures drove up air conditioner usage and added stress on transformers and other equipment.

Georgia Power is bringing in crews from its sister companies in Alabama and Florida to help speed the repairs. The companies had all sent a few crews to Virginia last week to assist utilities where 3 million customers are still without power.

Boatright said that it’s customary for utilities to help one another and that there was no way to know they would be needed here.

“I don’t think anyone anticipated the tremendous velocity of the storms that went through last night,” she said, adding that the company subscribes to several weather services.

Georgia’s electric-membership cooperatives also sent 60 workers to Virginia on Friday from nine cooperatives. Because many EMCs serve rural areas, evaluations can take longer, according to Jim Wright, the statewide crew-assistance coordinator for the EMCs.

“It takes time for EMCs in the affected areas to complete damage assessments and develop a plan that allows for the most efficient power restoration process,” he said.

Equipment and crews have been sent from Blue Ridge Mountain EMC in Young Harris, Canoochee EMC in Reidsville, Carroll EMC in Carrollton, Central Georgia EMC in Jackson, Okefenoke Rural EMC in Nahunta, Snapping Shoals EMC in Covington, Southern Rivers Energy in Barnesville, Sumter EMC in Americus and Tri County EMC in Gray.

Some of those same EMCs sustained outages Sunday night. As of 9 a.m. Monday, Georgia EMC was still getting a statewide tally of the number of customers still without power.


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