Georgia Power’s Olympic Experience Deemed A Success

When the world cast its eyes on Georgia during July and August, Georgia Power Co., the Official Power Source of the 1996 Olympic Games, turned on its brightest lights and delivered a performance as dazzling as the fireworks that brightened the sky during The Opening Ceremony of the Games.

The 1996 Olympic Games allowed the company to showcase its resources -- as a power supplier, a provider of world-class customer service and as a visionary through its commitment to economic development and electric transportation.

Here’s a sampling of the company’s performance:

  • Georgia Power’s top priority was to “keep the lights on” during the 1996 Olympic Games. The company -- with assistance from mild weather conditions -- met the challenge with electricity to spare.

  • Peak demand during the Games came on July 22, when 14,658 megawatts of power were consumed during a one-hour period. That compares with the company record of 14,735 megawatts that was set July 18 between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. EDT. The 1995 high was 14,719 megawatts set August 14.

  • Service interruptions to Olympic venues in Georgia totaled just nine seconds during the 17 days. For example, a lightning strike on a 115-kilovolt line near the volleyball venue in Athens caused the lights to go off for only three seconds. The lights required a 30-minute cool down before restarting, causing a slight delay in the start of one match.

  • Georgia Power’s Olympic Games Command Center (OGCC) monitored the flow of power to all Olympic venue sites. The center also tracked the Olympic environment -- everything from weather to traffic flow to media reports -- and served as Georgia Power’s central point of communication. The company was prepared from every perspective -- power systems, operations and safety.

  • Representatives from 164 businesses attended the Olympics as part of Georgia Power’s commitment to Operation Legacy, a public-private economic development partnership with a goal of bringing 20 new business locations and 6,000 direct manufacturing jobs to the state within the next three to five years. To date, Operation Legacy is credited with 15 new locations resulting in 2,200 jobs.

  • Georgia Power partnered with fellow Olympic sponsor General Motors to showcase the EV-1, an electric car that will be sold in California and Arizona later this year. The EV-1 served as the pace car for the women’s and men’s Olympic marathons.

  • Georgia Power donated 70 all-electric trams that moved the world’s athletes through various routes within the Olympic Village 24 hours a day during the Games. The 36 passenger, zero-emission trams covered a six mile route within the Village with stops at housing, entertainment, shopping and food service areas. The vehicles efficiently transported approximately 50,000 passengers per day and traveled more than 130,000 miles within the Village without negatively affecting air quality.
  • Georgia Power, in collaboration with Georgia Tech and the U.S. Department of Energy, installed a 340 kilowatt photovoltaic (solar) power system on the roof of the Aquatic Center, site of the 1996 Olympic swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo competitions. The power system will provide approximately 440,000 kilowatt-hours annually and about 40 percent of the open-air facility’s electrical demand. This renewable generation of electricity will save Georgia Tech approximately $30,000 annually on the operating cost of the facility.

    In addition to these activities, Georgia Power equipped the International Broadcast Center with additional transformer banks, underground power lines and onsite backup generation to make sure the action never stopped at the state-of-the-art facility. The company also provided over 1,800 volunteers for the Games. Five hundred of these volunteers served as drivers for the Olympic Family members for three weeks. The others participated in Opening and Closing Ceremonies as field marshals and behind-the-scenes support crews that made both productions successful. Every Georgia Power employee was a part of the overall success.