ATLANTA Georgia Power crews are working to restore electricity to the 60,000 customers who lost power during heavy winds and a winter storm that swept through the metro area Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
About 750 line crew personnel, damage assessment teams and other support personnel are involved in the restoration process. Hardest hit areas include Decatur, Stone Mountain, Tucker and Lithonia on the east side of the city.
The company opened its Storm Center on Wednesday night to monitor the storm and position crews to restore outages.
Crews worked throughout the day to restore power. By 3 p.m. there were only 3,000 customers still without power.
In the event of a major power outage, Georgia Powers 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.
- Dont attempt to make repairs to Georgia Powers electrical system or pull limbs off lines.
- 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.
- 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 www.georgiapower.com.
* *Note to media: This service is convenient for customers to report outages using battery-powered laptops or computers at work.