Georgia Power Honored for Response Efforts During Historic 2020 Hurricane Season
Friday, January 15th, 2021
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) today presented Georgia Power with the association’s “Emergency Recovery Award” for its power restoration efforts after Hurricane Zeta, and the “Emergency Assistance Award” for help provided to out-of-state utilities following Hurricane Isaias.
These awards are given to select EEI member companies to recognize their efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions caused by severe weather conditions or other natural events. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process. Georgia Power received the award during EEI’s Winter Board and Chief Executives Meeting.
“It is always an honor to be recognized by EEI for our storm response efforts, but this year it means a little more because our team had the unprecedented task of not only responding to a historic hurricane season, but responding during a pandemic,” said Chris Womack, president of Georgia Power. “It is truly a testament to the unwavering commitment of our team to restore power as safely and quickly as possible for our customers and our neighbors when a storm hits.”
Georgia Power has earned the Emergency Recovery Award nine times, including as recently as 2020. This is the sixth time Georgia Power has earned the Emergency Assistance Award.
Damage from Hurricane Zeta was widespread and covered the northern half of the state and was similar to the damage seen after Hurricane Michael in 2018. As Hurricane Zeta crossed through the state, Georgia Power’s service territory experienced wind gusts of up to 75 mph for more than two hours, along with sustained winds of 25-40 mph for more than five hours straight. Zeta’s impacts were severe and were exacerbated when a strong cold front with gusty winds quickly followed behind the storm, less than 12 hours later.
Georgia Power estimates that damage from Hurricane Zeta included:
Approximately 700 broken or damaged power poles
Nearly 200 miles of downed wire
More than 250 damaged transformers
Approximately 822,000 sustained outages at response peak
Georgia Power also received the Emergency Assistance Award for help provided to First Energy following Hurricane Isaias, a destructive Category 1 hurricane that caused extensive damage across the Caribbean and the East Coast of the United States. The storm spawned a large tornado outbreak that generated the strongest tropical cyclone-spawned tornado since Hurricane Rita in 2005. More than 150 Georgia Power personnel and contractors assisted First Energy for 5 days.
“I congratulate and applaud Georgia Power for demonstrating continued commitment to the customers and to the communities it serves,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “In the midst of a global pandemic and often in the most hazardous of conditions, Georgia Power and its frontline employees worked around-the-clock to restore service safely and quickly. Georgia Power is exceptionally deserving of this prestigious award.”
The company coordinates with other utilities through the mutual assistance network. The network consists of hundreds of utilities from around the country. As part of this partnership, Georgia Power is able to respond and offer assistance, providing reinforcements when needed to restore power quickly for other utilities. The company is also able to request additional resources to help restore power to Georgia Power customers following a major storm.