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Zeta knocks out power to 1 million customers in Georgia

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 5:38 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - About 1 million electric customers in Georgia were affected by power outages this morning as Tropical Storm Zeta moved through the region.

None of those outages were reported in the CSRA, with most of them in metropolitan Atlanta and west Georgia.

Georgia Power reported more than 600,000 customers without power as of 9 a.m. Meanwhile, the state’s electric co-operatives like Jefferson Energy, which serves part of the CSRA, reported 400,000 customers without power.

Electric service to more than 280,000 Georgia Power customers had been restored by 1:30 p.m.

The storm generated wind gusts in excess of 70 mph, causing widespread damage to trees, power lines and power poles. In some cases, trees need be cleared from roadways before line workers can access outages.

At first light, crews descended on the hardest-hit areas, according to the co-op trade association Georgia EMC.

Unlike most storms in the last several years, Zeta has damaged high-voltage transmission lines and electrical substations that provide electricity to the local co-ops, which distribute it to customers through smaller lines. Georgia Transmission Corp. is working to bring these lines and substations back to full operation, and as that work progresses the restoration efforts to residential customers and businesses will move more quickly.

Co-ops began preparing for Zeta nearly a week ago and have participated in daily discussions with co-ops within Georgia and nearby states to arrange for extra crews, trucks and equipment. Help has arrived or is on the way from unaffected areas in Georgia as well as South Carolina and Tennessee.

Extra help will be vital to the restoration effort, Georgia EMC said.

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