SRE crews and additional personnel have restored power to more than 5300 members in less than two days. Less than 3500 outages remain as of 9:15 a.m. Crews have been working steadily around the clock trying to restore power across seven counties. Some individual outages will last into the weekend. Members with medical conditions that require a constant supply of electricity are urged to make other arrangements immediately.
Over 80 additional linemen and contractors are helping with the process but it is a daunting task based on the devastation. There is a method for restoring power safely and effectively so just because you have not seen a truck in your neighborhood does not mean they aren’t working on your outage. Crews must start working from the substation that feeds a circuit and work their way down to tap and service lines at residences.
Some areas in SRE’s territory are extremely rural with lines running cross-country. In many cases there are massive trees and limbs that have fallen across roads and rights-of-way that must be cut and removed before trucks can even get to the poles and lines that have been torn down. Clearing paths to the damage is extremely time consuming. Meriwether County in particular has been described as "Armageddon" because of the number of fallen trees and extensive damage to our system. Progress is being made now but some individual outages will go into the weekend. If individuals have damage to their equipment (meter base or conduit on the side of the house) or home, they are responsible for making those repairs before SRE can safely reconnect service.
Work is expected to continue through the weekend. The Civic Center in Barnesville and the Pike County Senior Center on Hwy 19 in Zebulon have been designated emergency shelters and will remain open as needed for anyone in need of relief. Residents in Pike County can call 770-567-3857 for transportation to the Senior Center.
Everyone’s patience and cooperation is appreciated. Members should continue using the outage hotline for first-time outage reporting: 1-866-244-4890. The operators are responsible for taking calls and reporting outages but they do not have access to information that allows them to give estimates on restoration times or dispatch schedules.
Gordon State College will resume normal operations Friday.
Meanwhile, Southern Rivers Energy has made considerable progress on restoring power. At 11 p.m., less than 4400 members remained without power and repair crews have been beefed up with 41 additional personnel from around Georgia and another 30 from Alabama.
Trees and power lines were icing in earnest at mid-morning Wednesday. Temperatures were hovering right around or just above freezing. By noon, those temps should drop to 31 degrees or colder., exacerbating the problem.
DOT authorities say stay at home…
DOT roads alert at 10:30 a.m.:
With the threat of a “dire” storm looming, Georgia DOT dump trucks mounted with snow plows and spreaders are treating West Central Georgia’s state routes and interstates. A mixture of winter precipitation is now falling throughout Central Georgia.
“This is a very dangerous ice storm and we strongly encourage the public to stay off the roads unless it is an extreme emergency” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Keith Golden.
Crews are plowing and spreading salt and gravel on state routes and interstates throughout the region. Roadway conditions are treacherous. Roads in Butts, Henry and Lamar Counties are becoming icy but still passable. Do not travel in these counties – please stay put. Additional traffic on the roads will compound already perilous conditions.
At approximately 4 am this morning, Georgia DOT crews began a systematic treatment and retreatment of area interstates.
Latest weather predictions call for a “dire ice storm” that could include extreme black ice; 7+ inches of snow across Northeast Georgia; freezing rain with up to 1 inch of ice accumulation north and south of the I-20 corridor; and 20 -30 mph winds which increase the threat for widespread downed limbs, trees and power lines.
The Department is working with the Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia (OAAG) to post advisories and messages on over 250 electronic billboards across the state. Information will also be posted on Changeable Message Signs in the metro area.
Georgia DOT continues to coordinate with all state agencies at the Emergency Operations Center and Special Operations Center which will remain active throughout this winter storm event.
2 p.m. UPDATE from Erin Cook:
We have 1929 members without power now and an additional 6 crews from fellow co-ops in Alabama will be here this afternoon for a total of 25 extra crew members to assist with restoration efforts.
Wind gusts are snapping limbs and trees and taking down power lines. We're dealing with broken poles and downed lines throughout our system. This is shaping up to be a multi-day event and we are asking for patience and cooperation as we work toward safely restoring power for all our members. Please continue to use the outage hotline for outage reporting: 1-866-244-4890.
As of 10:22 a.m. we have 1508 members without power across parts of Meriwether, Pike, Lamar and Monroe counties. We already have two broken poles which are time consuming to replace. The ground is so heavily saturated from all the rain we had leading up to the ice that the trees have become top heavy with all the ice that has accumulated and the wind is literally uprooting trees that are then tearing down our lines. It is typical in ice storms like this for crews to spend hours replacing a broken pole and repairing a line only to have it torn down again from another tree or limb just minutes after they get it restored.
We have additional help on the way and urge our members to call the new outage hotline: 1-866-244-4890 to make sure their outage is reported. Posting an outage on Facebook is not a guarantee that it will be reported in a timely manner because Facebook is not manned 24-7. We encourage members to be prepared for extended outages, meaning it could take several days to completely restore power depending on the extent of the damage to our system. Current outages can be viewed live on our website at: http://188.8.131.52:82/ and updates will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day.
Lamar County garbage pickup service is running about a day behind because of icy roads and low temperatures, Lamar County Regional Solid Waste Authority director Johnny Poore said.
He advised residents to put out trash cans on their regular pickup day, noting it might be collected the next day, "but it will be picked up." The trash trucks had to be called in last Tuesday evening but started back to work Thursday about 10 a.m.
"We'll have everything picked up by Saturday," Poore noted. "Dependable Waste has put on extra trucks to handle the missed pickups."