EMCs Steady and Strong as Restoration Continues

TUCKER, Ga. 3 p.m. – Outage numbers continue to decrease for customers of Georgia’s electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) involved in an extensive restoration effort involving 16 states (including Georgia), more than 4,500 linemen and hundreds of additional support personnel.

EMCs are currently reporting approximately 80,000 outages across the state, down from a peak of 550,000 on Monday night. After surveying the electric system when conditions became safe, EMCs and other utilities quickly realized Irma was not an ordinary storm.

Rather than make landfall and quickly exit the state, Irma remained in Georgia for more than six hours and produced flooding rains in some parts and winds in excess of 30 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph. The intensity and duration of the system caused a level of damage not seen by Georgia’s utilities for many years.

Some EMCs are rebuilding as much as 90 percent of their distribution system, while many are repairing and replacing significant portions of their network as well. EMCs point to differences in this restoration:

  • Outages impacted all 41 EMCs in the state.
  • Outages occurred in every corner of the state. No area was left untouched.
  • Work was delayed in some cases until severe winds moved through and it was safe for employees to return to the field.
  • Crews have encountered hundreds of downed trees in roadways and on power lines which must be removed before work begins.
  • Linemen are replacing hundreds of broken poles which requires as much as four hours per pole.

Georgia crews are working with linemen from Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Some arrived in the Peach State prior to the storm, others were staged until the storm passed, while others arrived yesterday.

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, half of Georgia’s population, across 73 percent of the state’s land area.

Note: Another update will be provided at 5 a.m. tomorrow. Meanwhile, for the latest outage information, go to https://georgiaemc.com/storm-center/current-outages.