EMCs Send Crews to Help Restore Power

Oct 27, 2012, 16:24 ET from Georgia EMC

TUCKER, Ga., Oct. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Approximately 85 electric linemen and a large contingent of equipment from 11 electric cooperatives in Georgia are headed to Maryland to help restore power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

As it stands now, crews began leaving Saturday morning, while others will leave Sunday and Monday, from Altamaha EMC in Lyons, Carroll EMC in Carrollton, Central Georgia EMC in Jackson, Flint Energies in Reynolds, Irwin EMC in Ocilla, Jackson EMC in Jefferson, Middle Georgia EMC in Vienna, Mitchell EMC in Camilla, Snapping Shoals EMC in Covington, Southern Rivers in Barnesville and Tri-County EMC in Gray.  EMCs are prepared to send additional workers and equipment if more help is needed.

According to Jim Wright, vice president of training, education and safety for Georgia EMC, and the statewide crew assistance coordinator for the EMCs, Georgia EMC and other utilities have arranged through the Georgia Department of Public Safety, Motor Carrier Compliance Division, to provide for the expedited movement of utility trucks and equipment through Georgia heading to the mid-Atlantic.

Wright says Georgia's co-ops have been in constant contact with Co-ops in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

"It took just one phone call from Maryland to get our crews and equipment moving in their direction," Wright said. "We've also had preliminary discussions with several other states and additional crews will move out immediately if we receive their call for help."

Destructive winds and heavy rainfall are a great threat during hurricanes.  The potential for damage from Hurricane Sandy is even greater since the impacts will extend across a widespread area, blowing electric poles and structures to the ground and knocking trees on power lines, shutting off power to many consumers.

Once in Maryland, the EMCs in Georgia will rely on their extensive experience in restoring power following a variety of weather events, including ice storms, tornadoes and hurricanes.  In recent years, EMC crews have worked alongside co-ops in South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Virginia and Florida.

While Wright can't say specifically in what order power will be restored, many utilities follow a standard industry practice to repair and energize its lines. First, feeder and primary lines are repaired, then secondary and service lines next. This method restores power to the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

Georgia EMC is the statewide trade association representing the state's 42 EMCs, Oglethorpe Power Corp., Georgia Transmission Corp. and Georgia System Operations Corp.  Collectively, Georgia's customer-owned EMCs provide electricity and related services to more than four million people, half of Georgia's population, across 73 percent of the state's land area.