As Hurricane Irma clears Georgia, Georgia Power will begin its first day of full-scale damage assessment Tuesday. The company has experienced widespread, extensive damage due to high winds, heavy rain and fallen trees as a result of the historic hurricane. Damage assessment marks the first phase of the restoration process once the storm has left impacted areas. Georgia Power must wait until conditions are safe for damage assessment teams to enter the field and begin the restoration process, followed by repair crews, which could take several days, if not weeks, depending on the amount of damage and safe access to the area. As weather conditions improve, restoration efforts will accelerate, but it could take an extended period of time for all customers to be restored due to the vast damage from Hurricane Irma.
When severe weather strikes, Georgia Power has access to additional resources available as part of the Southern Company system, which includes multiple electric and gas companies serving more than 9 million customers nationwide. Additionally, Georgia Power is part of a national mutual assistance network consisting of dozens of utilities from around the country, and the company is able to tap into reinforcements when needed to restore power to Georgia customers following a storm. While the company has contacted and requested aid through the mutual assistance network, resources have been assigned to harder-hit areas in Florida first before travelling to Georgia.
Georgia Power monitored the path of Hurricane Irma for more than a week prior to the storm entering Georgia. To complete restoration as quickly and safely as possible, the company mobilized 5,500 personnel from Georgia Power, other Southern Company operating companies and assisting utilities. All of Georgia Power’s resources are being held and dedicated to storm restoration efforts in the state following Hurricane Irma.
Damage Update – As of 4 a.m. Tuesday
There are approximately 870,000 Georgia Power customers currently without power – equivalent to nearly 50 percent of the company’s total residential customer base.
More than 9,500 individual cases of damage or trouble (including broken poles and lines) the company is working to repair.
Damage and outages are widespread and across the state with the hurricane impacting service to customers around Savannah, Columbus, Metro Atlanta and beyond.
Tools You Can Use
· Outage Alerts – Subscribe to the free Georgia Power Outage Alert service to receive personalized notifications and updates via text message.
· Outage & Storm Center – Available at www.georgiapower.com/storm, customers can visit this site to sign up for Outage Alerts, report and check the status of outages, and access useful safety tips and information. Customers can report and check the status of an outage 24 hours a day by contacting Georgia Power at 888-891-0938.
· Outage Map – Housed within the Outage & Storm Center, Georgia Power’s interactive Outage Map provides near real-time information, allowing users to see where outages are occurring across the state and track estimated restoration times.
· Georgia Power Mobile App – Download the Georgia Power mobile app for Apple and Android devices to access storm and outage information on the go.
· @GeorgiaPower on Twitter – Follow @GeorgiaPower on Twitter for storm tips, outage updates, customer service and more.
After the Storm Safety Tips
Watch for downed wires. Downed power lines may be hidden by debris or fallen trees.
Never touch any downed wire or attempt to remove tree branches from power lines – it can kill.
Don’t step in standing water or saturated ground where downed lines may be present. They could be electrified.
Avoid chain link fences. They may be electrified by a downed line out of sight and conduct electricity over great distances.
Watch for Georgia Power crews working across the state. If driving, move over one lane for utility vehicles stopped on the side of the road – it’s the law in Georgia.
Georgia Power Family Services
To help its employees focus on safely restoring power for customers and relieve concerns about their own families, Georgia Power has also activated its Family Services volunteers, who are preparing to deploy to areas impacted by Hurricane Irma in anticipation of employee assistance requests. Family Services is supported by employee volunteers who are not involved with storm restoration.