Power companies wrap up ice storm outages

mstucka@macon.comFebruary 16, 2014 

GRAY -- The next time Barbara Roberson could lose five days of power because of an ice storm, she figures, she’ll start a load of laundry.

“I will make sure all my uniforms are washed just in case I have to get out,” said the Gray resident, whose power came back on at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Roberson said she can laugh about the situation now. She returned home around lunchtime Wednesday to find she’d lost power. Power crews had made several attempts to get her home turned back on, but would fix part of it, leave for elsewhere, then return again.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “You learn not to take advantage of things.”

As Sunday morning began, Roberson’s power company, Tri-County EMC, reported it had fewer than 600 customers without power, with 450 still out in Jones County alone. Those numbers were down from 7,000 customers Saturday morning. By 3 p.m. Sunday, Tri-County EMC had fewer than 160 customers without power, according to its outage map. By 7 p.m. Sunday, the number was down to just 16. By 7:45 p.m., there were two outages. By 8:30 p.m., power had been restored to all customers.

At the worst, at 5 a.m. Wednesday after an ice storm began hitting, about 16,000 Tri-County customers had lost power.

Tri-County EMC largely serves Jones, Baldwin and Putnam counties, all of which were hit hard in last week’s ice storm. At one point, 77 percent of Tri-County EMC’s customers had lost power.

On Sunday about noon, Georgia Power reported about 1,650 customers had no power because of 344 separate outages. Three hours later, there were about 270 outages, but about 3,250 customers without power -- most of them in Atlanta and Augusta. By 7 p.m., the number was down to 140 outages affecting 367 customers, with none of them in Middle Georgia. uAt the storm’s peak, hundreds of thousands of Georgia Power customers had no power.

Not far from Roberson’s house, Verdell Exum was unhappy with the power company. She didn’t get service until Friday night, after going without for two and a half days.

“They took their time. Instead of riding, sitting around and drinking coffee, they could have been helping people,” Exum said.

Roberson said she still had natural gas service, so she was able to cook and even take hot showers by flashlight. She said she thought power crews had been working hard, but she still had a favorite.

“I love the gas company more than I did the power company,” she said.

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