When Mother Nature flips the switch – Georgia Transmission
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When Mother Nature flips the switch

February 6, 2018

Time seems to stand still when the power goes out. Waiting for the lights to flicker back on can seem like an eternity, especially following a storm event.

For Georgia Transmission and local EMCs, every minute counts any time customers are in the dark.  Restoring power requires a combination of precise action, safety, and highly skilled professionals. And when Mother Nature has wreaked havoc, it often requires heavy machinery and muscle.

So what goes into getting the power back up and running?  The most important step happens long before the first rumble of thunder or high winds. Proper planning ensures high-voltage transmission lines and substations have redundancy where possible. This allows electricity to be rerouted and delivered through other functioning lines when parts of the system are impacted.

This is especially important when trees are down and maintenance easements are blocked. Getting to a substation to make a repair may first require removing debris and constructing a new entryway to get equipment to the damaged facility. A robust electric grid system built on solid planning is critical to ensuring other delivery options are available while repairs are underway.

Georgia Transmission builds and maintains the high-voltage power lines that deliver power across long distances so having even one of our facilities out of service means many homes and businesses are affected. During the critical hours when outages have occurred, professionals from maintenance, operations, engineering, and other functional groups collaborate to identify problems and move deliberately into action. A massive data system provides real-time information so maintenance crews can be strategic in making repairs.

Assessing the situation correctly means the right tools and manpower can go to work. Georgia Transmission can deploy trucks, ATVs and even helicopters to get to facilities. Once the damaged line or substation is accessible, the team works on repairing poles and lines, installing insulators and eventually clipping the wires in to re-energize the line.

Even as Georgia Transmission is working to restore high voltage facilities, local EMCs are out in force making repairs to the distribution system that delivers power directly to customers. Trees and debris likely must be cleared, distribution poles may need to be replaced, and mangled power lines repaired, all while keeping safety a priority.

Come rain, sleet, wind or snow, Georgia Transmission and EMC linemen maximize every minute to get the lights back on for more than 4 million Georgians and businesses across the state.