Frequently Asked Questions
About Georgia Transmission
When was Georgia Transmission founded?
In 1974, Georgia’s EMCs formed Oglethorpe Power Corporation (OPC) to manage power generation and electric transmission. In 1997, Oglethorpe Power split into three separate companies: Oglethorpe Power for electric generation, Georgia System Operations Corporation for system and administration support and Georgia Transmission Corporation for planning, building and maintaining high-voltage power lines and substations.
Is Georgia Transmission a for-profit company?
We are a not-for-profit cooperative. We are owned by 38 local EMCs, and they are owned by their local EMC members. Collectively, member owners represent more than 4.3 million Georgians.
What is an electric membership cooperative?
An electric membership cooperative is a not-for-profit utility owned and controlled by the people who use its service instead of by investors or shareholders.
What are the Seven Cooperative Principles?
Cooperatives adhere to to the same core principles and values, adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1995. Voluntary and open membership. Democratic member control. Member’s economic participation. Autonomy and independence. Education, training and information. Cooperation among cooperatives. Concern for community.
What kind of power lines does Georgia Transmission use?
Transporting power from generation plants to consumers is a journey from high-voltage transmission to lower voltage distribution lines. Our lines operate at 500 kilovolts (kV), 115 kV, 69 kV and 46 kV. Learn more about power lines.
How many power lines does Georgia Transmission maintain?
While our lines make up part of the 17,500-mile statewide Integrated Transmission System, we are specifically responsible for more than 3,000 miles of high-voltage power lines.
Why doesn’t Georgia Transmission bury power lines?
While low-voltage lines servicing homes and businesses often use underground wires, high-voltage transmission lines moving power across the state usually do not. This is because underground cables cost 5 to 10 times more to construct than overhead power lines and are estimated to last half as long. In addition, the repair time for underground transmission can take more than a week, inconveniencing thousands of customers. Above ground power lines allow us to make repairs quickly and cost efficiently, reducing outage times and allowing us to pass savings on to EMCs.
Why are you always building new transmission lines and substations?
Continued population and economic growth increases demand for reliable, affordable energy. By monitoring grid capacity, we can anticipate those increases and plan accordingly. Whether upgrading or constructing infrastructure, new projects reduce strain on the power grid and further improve reliability.
Will the construction of new lines interrupt service?
No, quite the opposite. New facilities will improve your electric reliability and are constructed in a way that does not interrupt service.
Do construction projects harm existing habitats?
The GTC-EPRI siting model considers the environmental effects of new construction. To minimize the impact, we work with environment experts, engineers and archaeologists when planning projects. We also employ environmentally-conscious practices when building power lines or electric substations.
Are power lines harmful to farm animals and wildlife?
There is no evidence suggesting continued exposure to high-voltage power lines cause negative health effects in animals. Property owners often use rights of way as pastureland and for agriculture.
Does the energy come from clean sources?
Georgia’s EMCs work to bring reliable, affordable energy to homes and businesses. EMCs rely on a diverse portfolio of energy resources, including nuclear, natural gas, coal, solar, biomass and hydropower.
Residents & Property Owners
What rights do utility crews have on my property?
Easement agreements allow our employees and contractors to enter existing rights of way for all official business. If our teams need to access other properties, they will contact the landowners directly.
How can we use easements on our property?
Property owners can use easements (rights of way) as greenspace, agriculture, tennis courts, streets and parking lots. Georgia Transmission doesn’t allow uses interfering with the safe operation and maintenance of the power grid. Unacceptable uses include pools, wells, permanent structures, trash dumps, tall lighting or signs and airport runways. For a detailed list of acceptable uses, contact us at (770) 270-7246. You can also download the rights of way application or learn about other acceptable uses.
What is an easement?
Easements are negotiated agreements between landowners and utilities. Easements permit the construction and maintenance of transmission infrastructure on private property.
Will a transmission line interfere with television and radio reception?
Power lines do not affect televisions and radios because they operate at different frequencies. If transmission hardware becomes loose or damaged, there may be temporary interference until our teams repair the power lines or substations.
What is EMF?
Home appliances, lighting, wiring and even the Earth produce electromagnetic fields. Created by any object using power or with a motor, these fields surround us every day. Numerous EMF studies have been conducted to determine if exposure to EMF is harmful. More than 20 scientific review panels have concluded there is no cause-and-effect relationship between those fields and any harmful health effects. Learn more about EMF.
Will I have a say in any new transmission infrastructure coming to my area?
We regularly speak with elected officials, community leaders and property owners about the need for affordable, reliable energy. If there is a need for new high-voltage lines, we host public open house meetings to provide information, address concerns and answer questions. We will personally contact property owners impacted by new infrastructure.
What is eminent domain?
Eminent domain is the acquisition of private property for a public purpose. This legal provision protects the community’s right to reliable energy and access to necessary utilities. While the law does prevent property owners from stopping the construction of infrastructure, it also guarantees fair compensation. At Georgia Transmission, we use eminent domain as an absolute last resort. We are proud to report we acquire 97% of our land rights without the use of eminent domain. Learn more about eminent domain.
What is “metal theft” and how can I help stop it?
Metal thieves attempt to steal ground wires, costing utilities and their customers thousands of dollars. Beyond financial considerations, when ground wires are removed, substations become unsafe for our crews. You can help prevent metal theft by dialing 911 and reporting to local authorities when you see any type of suspicious activity around electric infrastructure or notice individuals tampering with electrical equipment.
If a ball or toy accidentally lands in a fenced substation, what do I do?
Do not attempt to breach the safety fence or enter the substation area under any circumstance. Call the Georgia System Operations Corporation (GSOC) Control Center at 1-800-241-5375 to explain the situation.
Who should I call if I see a downed wire or a tree leaning toward a power line?
Please call the GSOC Control Center at 1-800-241-5375. Georgia Transmission will inspect any potential obstructions.
Trees & Rights of Way
Why do maintenance teams prune trees and clear vegetation growing around infrastructure?
Dying trees or low-hanging limbs can damage power lines, interrupting the safe flow of electricity and causing outages. Similarly, overgrowth around towers limits access and complicates maintenance. Learn what you can plant on a right of way.
Why did you cut my trees?
To provide safe and reliable electric service, trees and vegetation are trimmed along power lines. The majority of pruning and cutting occurs during routine line maintenance cycles. When lightning, ice storms, high winds, hurricanes, tornadoes or other natural occurrences cause trees or other vegetation to fall across power lines and thus create power outages, trees and brush are cut so lines can be replaced and re-energized. Disposal of any wood, limbs or debris resulting from this type of emergency operation is the responsibility of the property owner.