WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has honored Georgia Power with both of the association's longstanding Emergency Response Awards – the Recovery Award and the Assistance Award.
The 2012 Emergency Recovery Award recognizes the company's efforts to restore power to its customers following fierce summer storms in Georgia. The 2012 Emergency Assistance Award honors efforts to help other electric utilities following the summer derecho, Hurricane Isaac in August and "Superstorm Sandy" in the fall.
"Georgia Power was faced with a major restoration effort following last summer's extended period of severe weather," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "It takes strong commitment, advanced planning and great execution. Georgia Power responded with all three. They're a great example for the nation's electric power industry. I congratulate them."
"This award is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our employees who serve our customers and deliver exceptional service 24/7, in good conditions and bad," said Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers. "Our first priority is our customers and when severe weather hits we are committed to restoring power as quickly and safely as possible."
The summer storms were unique in that Georgia Power had to maintain an extended response on several fronts. Shortly after 173 employees deployed to help mutual assistance partners following the June derecho in the Midwest and Northeast, severe thunderstorms and an intense heat wave began in Georgia. The company responded to two weeks of back-to-back storms along with the heat wave. Storm teams replaced more than 1,100 transformers during the period to restore power for customers.
The Assistance Award has been presented each year to EEI member electric utility companies since 1998. It recognizes extraordinary efforts undertaken in restoring electric service to another utility company disrupted by severe weather or other natural events.
"Georgia Power's restoration assistance following three major storms was truly remarkable," said Kuhn. "We congratulate Georgia Power's work through the industry's mutual assistance program. Their crews were essential in helping their fellow utility companies restore service. Importantly, this assistance also shows their compassion in helping others in their time of need."
Bowers added, "We are always willing to help our neighbors recover in challenging times. At Georgia Power, our motto is 'A Citizen Wherever We Serve.' From the outpouring of appreciation received from the Gulf Coast, the Midwest and Northeast following these three major events, it's clear that our storm teams lived up to that motto. We are very proud of the skill, dedication and compassion they displayed."
Considering the three events together, company storm teams comprising nearly 1,400 employees spent 41 days enduring hard work, difficult weather and often-challenging living conditions away from home. Almost half of that time was spent on the Hurricane Sandy restoration, which also represented the company's largest deployment since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
For Hurricane Sandy, some 724 employees participated, representing more than 40 percent of line worker resources. Additionally, 137 contractors were released to help.
In Atlanta, additional assistance was provided as Georgia Power customer service representatives handled a portion of off-system customer calls in a relatively new form of mutual assistance. Telecommunications technology and a highly skilled call center staff enabled Georgia Power to help with overflow calls from the utility in the disaster area.
Both awards were made following an international nomination process and were presented during EEI's winter CEO meeting January 10, 2013, in Phoenix, Ariz.
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies. Members serve 95 percent of the ultimate customers in the shareholder-owned segment of the industry, and represent approximately 70 percent of the U.S. electric power industry. We also have more than 65 international electric companies as affiliate members, and more than 170 industry suppliers and related organizations as associate members.
Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility with rates below the national average. Georgia Power serves 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties.
SOURCE Georgia Power