Irma left more than 17,000 customers in Houston County without power Monday and it could be a week before all are restored.
No one should expect their power to be turned back on until after 9 p.m. Monday. Jimmy Autry, spokesman for Flint Energies, said repairs are suspended due to regulations on the use of bucket trucks in high winds. He said the work will resume at 9 p.m.
Repairs that can get the most customers back online will have the top priority. Autry said there are 200 individual outages identified and those could take nearly a week to restore. Crews are coming in from other states to help out, he said.
An individual outage is when a line is damaged that impacts only one customer. For example, if a home is well off a main road, and the line between the road and the home is damaged, it will be among the last to be repaired. Autry said that’s why people may see work crews in their area that leave before restoring all of the power in that area.
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He said crews were working up until shortly after 11 a.m. Monday but had to stop due to the winds.
Jimmy Williams, Houston County Emergency Management Agency director, estimated that about 100 trees had fallen in the county.
One large tree that fell on Hunt Road took down four poles with it, knocking out power to the Publix shopping center on Lake Joy Road, among others, Autry said. He said each pole will take four hours to replace. Due to the work stoppage by power crews, that tree and others tangled in power lines will remain in the roadways until the power crews can get to each one.
Williams said six trees had fallen on homes but no injuries were reported. At least one home on Elberta Road was severely damaged when a large tree fell on it.
From about 2-4 p.m., all work removing trees from roads ceased due to high winds, unless there was a life-threatening situation such as someone trapped in a car, Williams said. Response to all emergency calls was also limited to life-threatening situations during that time.
Centerville and Warner Robins are under a curfew until 6 a.m. Tuesday. People are asked to stay off the road ways unless they have an emergency.
He said all county government operations will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday.