Carroll Electric Membership Cooperative has restored power to all but just a handful of its members affected by Hurricane Irma as of Tuesday morning. Those remaining are due to fallen trees and debris from the storm.
“It could have been much worse,” said Jay Gill, Vice President of Communications & Economic Development. “We were blessed to have relatively little damage to our service territory as compared to other power providers around us. The instances were just spread out over our 1,100 square-mile-territory and small, so it has been tedious to repair.”
All hands were on deck at Carroll EMC since Wednesday, Sept. 6 with 145 employees on call. The co-op activated Level One of its Emergency Response Plan Wednesday and activated Level Two by Thursday. Contracted crews from Illinois, Kentucky and Oklahoma co-ops, along with Pike Electric and Davis H. Elliott, began arriving at Carroll EMC late Sunday night. By Monday morning, those crews, along with regular Carroll EMC crews, began addressing the outages.
In the midst of Hurricane Irma hitting its service area, CEMC crews were recalled late in the afternoon due to winds exceeding 30 mph, creating an environment too dangerous to work in. As conditions began to improve, the crews were deployed but still had to battle bad weather, heavy winds and working throughout the night.
The most customers out of power at one time was 3,844 around 2:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11. The cooperative maintained consistent efforts across social media channels, keeping customers and the public informed about the status of power restoration for more than 24 hours.
Another factor that kept outage numbers low is the company’s approach to powerline right-of-way maintenance. “We learned from previous storms,” said Chief Operating Officer Jerome Johnston. “We’ve made changes to the way we maintain a clear path for our powerlines and it has paid off on more than one occasion.”
“It’s critical for our members to cooperate with us in keeping our right-of-ways clear. It’s a partnership,” continued Johnston.
“We appreciate the patience and understanding of our members,” said CEO Tim Martin. “We realize that being without power is inconvenient and we’re grateful for all the messages and calls supporting our employees’ efforts during trying times.”
Carroll EMC is a Member-owned cooperative providing electricity to approximately 51,000 homes and businesses. The co-op serves Members in Carroll, Haralson, Heard, Paulding, Polk and Troup counties. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information visit the cooperative’s website at carrollemc.com or follow Carroll EMC on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. Carroll EMC: Community Built. Community Builder.
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