EMCs and 4,500 Strong Tackle Outages from Irma

TUCKER, Ga.  5 p.m. – Electric Membership Cooperatives (EMCs) in Georgia have almost completed a massive restoration event following Tropical Storm Irma. EMCs are reporting approximately 5,600 customers without power and anticipate most will be restored tonight, while some could extend into tomorrow. Since Monday, EMCs have restored service to nearly 550,000 customers.

The remaining outages are spread across the state in remote, hard-to-reach areas with catastrophic damage. In the final phase of restoration, crews can work for hours in one location and restore service to a handful of customers.

Tropical Storm Irma proved to be a bear for a number of reasons:

  • Georgia’s EMCs experienced a record number of outages at the peak of the storm.
  • Damage occurred to all 41 EMCs in the state in every region of the state, possibly a first.
  • Some EMCs experienced damage to as much as 90 percent of their service area, requiring significant repairs, replacements and rebuilds of power lines, power poles and other equipment.
  • Rather than move quickly across Georgia, Irma battered the state for more than six hours with winds in excess of 30 mph, with gusts to 60 mph.
  • In some cases, repairs couldn’t begin until Irma mercifully left Georgia and conditions became safe for employees to return to the field.
  • EMCs reported historically high numbers of downed trees and power poles, surpassing previous records at many EMCs.
  • More than 4,500 linemen from Georgia and 15 other states participated in the effort. Crews came from as far north as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and as far west as Texas and Oklahoma.

EMCs want to thank members for their patience and understanding during this historic event and especially those who sent words of encouragement and support.

Members can follow progress of the remaining restorations through local EMC updates in newspapers, TV and radio, and other communications channels.

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.

Note: This will be the final statewide update provided by Georgia EMC. With full restoration nearly complete, remaining outage information will be posted through tonight at https://georgiaemc.com/storm-center/current-outages. For questions, contact Terri Statham.