As Hurricane Dennis barrels toward the Gulf Coast, Georgia Power crews are preparing to restore power to customers, should the storm hit Georgia and cause widespread outages.
The hurricane is expected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast some time Sunday night or Monday morning. As was the experience during Hurricane Ivan, the strong winds on the northeast side of the storm could cause damage in Georgia Sunday evening and into Monday.
Georgia Powers Storm Center will officially open at 6 p.m. Saturday to monitor the progress of Dennis and coordinate restoration efforts. Georgia Power officials have been monitoring the hurricane since its initial formation in the Atlantic Ocean.
In anticipation of damages, a storm restoration team from Brunswick will relocate to Tifton and a team from Augusta will move to Newnan on Sunday afternoon. Each team will consist of about 25 line personnel and 8-10 trucks. The remaining line crews across the state will report for storm duty Monday morning.
In addition to preparing for possible outages in Georgia, Georgia Power also is coordinating its storm preparations with other Southern Company utilities Alabama Power, Mississippi Power, Savannah Electric and Gulf Power (Florida panhandle) to ensure that all customers in the Southern Company system get their power restored as quickly as possible. Georgia Power will restore power to its customers first before assisting other Southern Company utilities.
Besides committing thousands of its employees to storm restoration duty, Southern Company has requested the assistance of line crews from other utilities as well as contract line crews from throughout the eastern United States.
In the event of major power outages, Georgia Powers first priority is to restore electricity to emergency agencies, such as police, fire departments and hospitals. The next priority is to restore power to as many customers as possible with each repair.
If the weather interrupts electrical service, customers may report the outage by calling Georgia Powers Customer Care Center at 1-888-891-0938. This line is answered by an automated system designed to handle power outage calls; however, customers also may talk directly with a customer service representative. The most efficient way for customers to report outages is to leave all information on this automated system. If youre able to access our web site, you can also report your outage at www.georgiapower.com.
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 lying on the ground or fallen trees that may conceal downed power lines; 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 and could create a safety hazard.
When driving, watch for crews working along the roadways, and obey all traffic signs and directions around work areas.
If possible, 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.
Dont attempt to make repairs to Georgia Powers electrical system or pull limbs off lines as these limbs may contain downed power lines that are still energized and dangerous. Georgia Power will cut tree limbs off power lines. However, homeowners are responsible for trees that hit houses but not power lines.
Do not connect portable generators to your household electrical wiring. This can cause serious injury to you and Georgia Power crews working on lines in your neighborhood. Connect only essential appliances -- such as freezers and refrigerators directly to the generator.
Be patient. Be assured that Georgia Power crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to customers.
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.