(WTVM) - Electric service to nearly 1 million Georgia Power customers was impacted at the height of Hurricane Irma, and less than 24 hours later, Georgia Power is quickly working to restore service across the state.
While the company is working around the clock, customers should plan ahead for the potential for extended outages, possibly days or weeks, due to the vast damage from the storm.
"Usually it's maybe just a few hours, but then it comes back on, but when it comes to overnight, you're sitting trying to figure out what you need to do. I mean, you can't do anything. Can't cook, can't bathe, nothing," said Debra Fishburne who says she's been without power for more than 24 hours.
Fishburne is one of the many people dealing with power outages across the Chattahoochee Valley.
Georgia Power dispatching crews overnight, following the storm, and early Tuesday morning to minimize widespread outages across the state.
External Affairs Manager for the West Region of Georgia Power, Robert Watkins says what this storm did was unique.
"This is not a normal storm. This storm knocked out the whole state. Normally, you have a portion of the state that was hit. You move resources in, you get it quickly. This one, resources are going to be slow coming in, they are going to be shared with all the other parts of the state," said Watkins.
Watkins says the 100 man crew is working as fast as possible. More help is reportedly on the way to the Chattahoochee Valley.
"This could possibly be a several day thing, but we have been working non-stop. We will continue to work until this thing is done," said Watkins.
Restoration progress since the beginning of the storm has been largely possible thanks to Georgia Power's advanced electric grid which allows the company to reroute and restore power even when weather conditions prevent work in the field, as well as early work of crews.
All of Georgia Power's teams were in the field Tuesday working to assess damage and restore power.
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.
Damage Update – As of 10 p.m. Tuesday
- There are approximately 425,000 Georgia Power customers currently without power.
- More than 10,000 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.