Georgia Power customers with mobile Internet access will no longer be in the dark about power outages.
When the electricity goes out, people often start worrying whether service will be restored in time to get ready for work, prepare dinner or prevent food from spoiling in the refrigerator or freezer.
Georgia Power customers now have a new online tool to track repairs or check for blackouts in specific counties.
Through a map updated every 10 minutes, residents and business owners can learn what caused the electricity to go out, how widespread the outage is and the estimated time for power restoration.
Its as close to real time as you can get it, said Georgia Power spokesman Mark Williams. This information comes from our crews in the field.
Triangle-shaped icons indicate pockets were power is out, and zooming in on those locations will give more details, such as how many customers are affected.
Outages do still occur, and its our goal to restore service to all customers as soon as we can, Lisa Sibert, Georgia Power distribution vice president, said in a news release announcing the upgrade to the online Storm Center.
Customers can register to obtain specific information for their individual accounts, since exact addresses are not disclosed.
If youre out of town, you can log in to see if theres an outage at your address, Williams said.
Visitors to www.georgiapower.com/storm also can report an outage, view tips, see current weather affecting the state and find information on coping with severe weather or other dangers.
The website is designed for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, so customers can make informed choices about staying at home or seeking shelter elsewhere.
Plus, business owners can make educated decisions about staffing and operations if an outage is expected to be long.
For the past few years, Flint Energies has been posting a similar online map at flintoutages.com that also is updated every 10 minutes.
Its very instrumental when we have large situations like hurricanes and tornado outbreaks, said Marian Douglas, Flints manager of public relations.
Flints map uses squares to indicate the general area of an outage, and color-codes signal the number of customers affected.
The specific street location is not mentioned due to privacy concerns, and no estimate of repairs is currently available.
Each outage has a reference number a customer can use when inquiring about a Flint outage, Douglas said.