Power Restoration Progresses In South Georgia Following Hurricane Michael

Power restoration to tens of thousands in South Georgia continues after hurricane Michael. This storm is unique from others in both intensity and that it not only took down power poles and lines in service areas, but many substations and major transmission lines. Repairs to the entire power grid over a large part of the state must be made for some to receive power. Crews from across the country have descended on Georgia and Florida to complete the effort. Some updates:

From the EMC’s this morning:

TUCKER, Ga. – The electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) in Georgia have restored service to 154,000 members since Hurricane Michael slammed Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane. At 4:45 a.m., 56,000 members remain without power primarily in the South and Southwest portions of the state devastated by the storm.

EMCs have made great strides to repair and in some cases completely rebuild portions of the transmission and distribution network. Hundreds of EMC linemen are focused on power restoration at this time from Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina thus far.

Georgia Transmission Corp. reports that 89 of the 99 electrical substations that were knocked out by the hurricane are now at full operation. In addition, nearly 50 high-voltage transmission lines have been repaired or replaced. These supply-side operations must be functional in order for EMCs to have electricity to distribute to their customers, so the recovery efforts have been a two-part process.

EMC crews are also encountering thousands of downed trees and limbs and hundreds of damaged or destroyed power poles and power lines. The average time to replace a broken distribution pole is four hours, which is a good example of why restoration times have been and will be lengthy for many members.

EMCs stress that the damage inflicted by Michael is some of the worst Georgia has seen in decades, and the restoration process will involve many days, up to a week or more in some rural areas of the state.

From Ronny Just of Georgia Power, last night via Facebook:

As of 8:15 PM (10/14/18) ~77K customers without power across Georgia — [Georgia Power 18K/EMCs 59K]…this will be my last regular update. The region from Bainbridge to Albany continues to be the zone with lingering outages, and all resources are now aimed there. More than 7,000 restoration crew members have been living out of quickly erected tent cities (pictured) or far flung hotels…so power is returned to South Georgia. Once energized, the longer recovery can begin. Thanks for your thoughts and concerns for the superheroes that are making this happen.

There’s a lot more that will go into recovery beyond power. I’ll focus this week on impact to Georgia’s agriculture community, as the impact to pecan and cotton farmers is said to be catastrophic. For now, electricity is needed for many to truly begin recovery.

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