Winter Storm Izzy left much of northern Georgia under a blanket of snow and ice but spared counties just west of Atlanta, including Carroll Electric Membership Cooperative’s (EMC) service territory. By Sunday afternoon, the co-op had restored service to all Members who lost power as the cold front pushed through early that morning.
Carroll EMC began preparing for the wintry mix when forecasts predicted the potential impacts to the area and encouraged Members to do the same. The cooperative’s emergency response plan was activated, and the procurement of material and mutual aid was coordinated with its statewide trade association, Georgia EMC. All personnel were on standby ready to be dispatched in the field or facilitate phone lines and communication services.
“Safety is our number one priority,” said Jerome Johnston, Chief Operating Officer for Carroll EMC. “If our employees are prepared and know their assignments, we can get our Members’ power back on as quickly and safely as possible. Thankfully, this storm was a minor event for us.”
Of its 52,000+ Members, less than 800 of Carroll EMC’s Membership experienced an outage despite the strong winds that knocked down trees, breaking power lines and poles, across other parts of the state. Crews were able to replace downed lines and broken poles within hours of daybreak, restoring power to those who lost service at the height of the weather event. This is largely due to the co-op’s extensive right-of-way maintenance that keeps tree growth a reasonable distance from power lines.
Other Georgia co-ops were not as fortunate to be spared of Winter Storm Izzy. Eight linemen from Carroll EMC traveled to Habersham EMC, located in the northeastern part of the state, once the threat for West Georgia had diminished. The Clarkesville-based cooperative reported more than 15,000 Members without power and a number of broken poles and downed wire due to high winds and the accumulation of snow and ice.
“It’s always a relief when a storm doesn’t affect you as much as anticipated,” said Johnston. “But it almost always affects someone else. We are always ready to assist other co-ops in need when they are negatively impacted by a weather event. It’s who we are as a cooperative.”
Restoration efforts for Winter Storm Izzy came only days after Carroll EMC crews returned from the aftermath of Winter Storm Frida which took power from more than 98,000 Members of Rappahannock EMC in Virginia. The 10-day outage event illustrates that even a foot of snow can devastate an electric system, far worse than a retreating tornado or hurricane. The repeating cycle of ice melting during the day and water freezing overnight causes wear on trees and infrastructure, causing them to snap.
There is no doubting winter has set in, and there are more cold months to come. Carroll EMC encourages Members to be prepared for an outage event if a weather system moves through. Have a supply of food and water as well as safe sources of heat. If Members have medical necessity, it is important they have contingency plans. Download Carroll EMC’s Outage Pal app and follow the cooperative on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for storm preparedness and safety tips.
Carroll EMC is a Member-owned cooperative providing electricity to approximately 52,000 homes and businesses. The co-op serves Members in Carroll, Haralson, Heard, Paulding, Polk, Floyd 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, Instagram and LinkedIn. Carroll EMC: Community Built. Community Builder.