Midstate power companies prepared for ice

pramati@macon.comFebruary 11, 2014 

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Thousands of workers are standing by to repair power lines should the approaching ice storm trigger outages across Middle Georgia.

Brian Green, a spokesman for Georgia Power, said the utility already has set up several staging areas across the state and called in contract crews to help its regular crews. In addition, crews from Ohio, Texas and Florida are in Georgia to offer assistance.

“We have several thousand workers ready to help with power restoration needs,” Green said.

Parts of the midstate could see up to a third of an inch of ice when it moves in Wednesday, the National Weather Service reported. That could freeze power lines, and wind gusts -- as well as falling limbs or trees -- could also take out lines.

Green said the company usually tries to trim limbs and branches near power lines during warmer months to avoid having the lines knocked down during harsh winter weather.

Green urged residents to keep their tablets and cellphones charged in case the power goes out so they will be able to monitor conditions. Customers can find out the latest on power outages at www.georgiapower.com/storms.

Green also reminded people not to touch a downed power line, because it might still be live. Anyone who sees a downed line should call Georgia Power at 888-660-5890 or contact local authorities.

He also cautioned people to be safe if they use candles to light their homes during an outage.

“Safety is our No. 1 priority,” he said. “We’re going to monitor conditions.”

With some parts of Middle Georgia not expected to be touched by the winter conditions, Flint Energies workers are on standby to help out other affected areas, spokesman Jimmy Autry said.

“We’re doing all the regular stuff to get ready,” he said. “We’ve got our crew assignments. We’ve stocked up on fuel and repair equipment. ... We’ll probably go assist our sister cooperatives if we dodge (the ice). We’re prepared for the worst and expect the best.”

Kim Bonner, spokeswoman for Tri-County EMC, said her company’s crews are in a wait-and-see mode.

“We’re monitoring the weather forecast, and we’ve got extra crews standing by,” she said.

Tri-County serves Jones, Baldwin and Putnam counties, as well as parts of Bibb, Twiggs, Wilkinson, Morgan and Jasper counties.

Customers can visit Tri-County’s website at www.tri-countyemc.com, and they can call 478-986-8100 to report an outage or downed power lines.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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