Georgia Power restores service during 2004 winter storm, offers safety tips

ATLANTA – Georgia Power crews are working to restore power lost during a winter storm that swept through the state yesterday.

About 1,500 line crew personnel, damage assessment teams and other support personnel are working to restore power. Hardest hit regions include northeast Georgia and the Augusta area, which saw ice accumulation up to a ½ inch on power lines and trees.

The company opened its Storm Center on Sunday afternoon to monitor the storm and began moving crews into place in preparation to restore outages.

Assisting Georgia Power crews are employees from Southern Company’s sister utilities Alabama Power, Mississippi Power, Savannah Electric and Gulf Power. Crews will work through the night to restore power. Georgia Power will continue to monitor weather developments and is prepared to request assistance from additional utilities throughout the southeast.

In the event of a major power outage, Georgia Power’s first priority is to restore electricity to emergency public service agencies, such as police and fire departments, and hospitals. The next priority is to restore power safely to as many customers as possible with each repair.

Here are some safety tips for customers to follow when severe weather hits:

- Residents who have a life-threatening medical emergency should call 911.

- Always avoid downed power lines. Any downed line should be considered energized and therefore dangerous. Report downed lines immediately to local public safety authorities and stay out of the immediate area.

- Avoid debris laying on the ground that may conceal downed power lines and make sure there are no downed lines before allowing children out to play.

- Steer clear of Georgia Power crew work areas. Equipment and energized lines may be in the area that could create a safety hazard.

- When driving, watch for crews working along the roadways, and obey all traffic signs and directions around work areas.

- When leaving your home and power is off, turn off the main breaker as a precaution to avoid a power surge once the power is restored.

- Don’t attempt to make repairs to Georgia Power’s electrical system or pull limbs off lines.

- Be patient. When a major outage occurs, Georgia Power crews must first restore power to transmission lines and distribution circuits before working on distribution lines that feed directly to homes and businesses. However, be assured that Georgia Power crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to customers.

- Customers are reminded to be careful when using portable heaters or other supplemental heating. Never place heaters near flammable materials or where they might tip over. Use fire screens to prevent sparks and embers from causing problems.

- Customers should use extreme caution if using candles during a power outage. Always keep candles away from flammable objects and never leave them burning unattended.

If the weather interrupts electrical service, customers are urged to call the Customer Care Center at 1-888-891-0938. This line is answered by an automated system designed to handle power outage calls; however, customers may also talk directly with a customer service representative. The most efficient way for customers to report outages is to leave all information on this system.

During the ice storm of January 2000, Georgia Power customers requested the utility provide an online power outage reporting system. Now customers may report outages at

* *Note to media: This service is convenient for customers to report outages using battery-powered laptops or computers at work.