The average outage time for Georgia Power customers was 42% less than the national average in 2019, according to the most recent available data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. With severe storm weather possible throughout the year, the company’s comprehensive storm response plans help ensure the readiness of critical personnel and facilities necessary to continue providing the safe and reliable energy customers expect and deserve.
“We prepare every year knowing it will be nothing like the year before,” said Georgia Power’s Storm Center Director David Maske. “Our teams know firsthand the impacts severe weather can have on our customers, and we remain prepared to respond whenever we are called upon.”
In 2020 alone, the company responded to more than 26 severe weather events that impacted Georgia in a record-breaking storm season, with the most impactful storm Hurricane Zeta, which caused significant damage to Georgia Power’s distribution system leading to over 5,700 cases of damage and impacting over 822,000 customers. Zeta’s impacts were severe and were exacerbated when a strong cold front with gusty winds quickly followed behind the storm, less than 12 hours later. More than 4,000 Georgia Power personnel, with assistance from out-of-state utilities, were mobilized as part of the company’s restoration effort. Throughout 2020, Georgia Power crews responded to more than 22,650 outage events and replaced or repaired 8,500 spans of wire equal to nearly 400 miles of power lines.
Storm Response Pandemic Preparations
Georgia Power teams are prepared to respond to service interruptions that might occur because of severe weather while taking proactive actions including special “distancing” and other precautions to help protect customers and employees from the spread of the virus.
In the field, the power restoration process includes these key steps:
- Assessing Conditions – Responding crews – or in major storms, damage assessment teams – work to identify trouble spots and the resources needed to fix them, which could involve coming onto customers’ property. Crews will employ appropriate distancing efforts and customers are asked to keep children and pets indoors and maintain safe distances from crew members as well.
- Making Repairs – Georgia Power crews focus on repairs that return power to the greatest number of customers in the least amount of time.
Regardless of the storm season, Georgia Power encourages customers to keep safety first, with the following tips:
Before a Storm: Stay aware and check the weather forecast before heading outdoors. Make plans for vulnerable family members who might have difficulty in a power outage. Turn off large appliances as power surges can overload them and charge cell phones in case you lose power.
During a Storm: Take safe shelter inside a sturdy building away from windows and doors. Avoid contact with conductors of electricity – appliances, metal objects and water.
After a Storm: Never touch any downed or low-hanging wire, including telephone or TV wires that touch a power line. Never pull tree limbs off of power lines yourself or enter areas with debris or downed trees as downed power lines may be buried in wreckage.