Tropical storm-force winds from Hurricane Zeta tore through Carroll Electric Membership Cooperative’s seven-county service territory before daybreak Thursday leaving more than 26,000 Members without power.
With saturated grounds and wind gusts exceeding 60 mph, the cooperative’s infrastructure suffered extensive damage including broken poles and downed lines. According to Carroll EMC Chief Operating Officer, Jerome Johnston, the restoration process will be a multi-day event.
“We haven’t seen damage like this since Hurricane Opal in 1995,” said Johnston. “Ice Storm Benji had more immediate outages three years ago, but this storm has caused much more destruction of the co-op’s facilities and equipment. In many areas, it is like a completely new construction job.”
Crews from other Georgia EMCs, private contractors and out-of-state cooperatives began arriving at Carroll EMC by Wednesday evening. As winds subdued, those were fully deployed in the field alongside Carroll EMC crews. As of Thursday afternoon, more than 100 outside linemen and contractors along with Carroll EMC linemen and operations personnel were on-site. Additional aid is expected to arrive Thursday and Friday to assist with restoration efforts.
“Members and stakeholders in the community may not realize the severity of damage to our region,” said James Layton, Vice President of Systems Engineering for Carroll EMC. “Thanks to investments in newer technology, not only are we able to isolate more faults on the grid, but we’re aggregating data to predict workforce needs and manage the restoration process for a more efficient result. Ten years ago, this storm would have taken more than a week to completely repair, whereas we’re anticipating completion in a matter of days.”
Members who have not yet reported their outage should report it by calling 770-832-3552 (option 1) or by using the Carroll EMC website or Outage Pal app. Once reported, the outage is documented in the system and crews are dispatched to the areas serving the highest number of customers first.
Remember to stay clear of any downed line, it might still be energized.