Ten days after a disastrous ice storm knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of residents, the lights are back on for all but a few dozen in the Augusta and Aiken areas.
Where outages remain, customers need to hire electricians to repair damage to meter boxes or power intake sites on the house or building, according to Georgia Power and SCE&G. Lingering problems are outside the company’s main distribution and service lines.
“Once they have that repaired, we will return and get them hooked up,” said Georgia Power spokesman Brian Green.
In Georgia Power’s east region, which includes Augusta, 48 customers required electricians or inspections as of Friday afternoon before power could be restored, Green said. That number is down from 967 as of Monday night.
SCE&G had 28 customers in Aiken County without power on Friday, said spokesman Eric Boomhower. Most of those needed electricians to repair damage from the ice storm, he said.
After more than 29,000 power outages caused by last week’s winter storm, Aiken Electric restored electricity to all customers by Thursday, narrowly missing a goal to fix all outages by midnight Wednesday.
“We’re down to zero,” Marilyn Gerrity, marketing manager of Aiken Electric, said Thursday afternoon. “It took a lot of hard work and patience from our members, but we’re proud to say we no longer have any storm-related power outages.”
Aiken Electric serves customers in nine counties, totaling 5,300 miles of power lines.
“There were just a few single restoration jobs we couldn’t quite finish by (Wednesday) night. Those one-on-one jobs are often pretty time-consuming,” Gerrity said.
Jefferson Energy Cooperative, which serves parts of 11 counties including Burke, Columbia and Richmond, restored its 26,745 outages by late Wednesday afternoon, said Director of Public Relations Steve Chalker.
The last customers to receive power were in rural areas, on roads where trees blocked access or far away from main distribution lines, Chalker said.
Although power has largely been restored, recovery operations are still underway. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal extended the state of emergency for 10 counties, including Richmond and Columbia, until midnight Monday.
Mie Lucas, disaster preparedness coordinator for Richmond County, said crews collected more than 51,000 cubic yards of debris through Friday afternoon. Residents need to move tree limbs to curbs by Monday morning, making sure not to block roadways, ditches and storm drains, she said.
Columbia County Emergency Management Director Pam Tucker said crews Friday picked up debris along some streets in Evans, including Blue Ridge Drive and some Washington Road subdivisions. Cleanup schedules will proceed according to zones that Tucker mapped out in Columbia County.
“We are still in the recovery phase and will be for a few weeks. We’re just as busy as we were during the response,” she said.
Staff writer Doug Stutsman contributed to this report.