Both Georgia Power and Excelsior EMC reported restoration of electrical service to all power-ready customers in Bulloch County as of Friday afternoon.
About 80 percent of both companies’ local customers had power knocked out Monday during the passage of Tropical Storm Irma.
Matt Sawhill, incoming Statesboro area manager for Georgia Power, emailed that he was “very happy to report that as of 3 p.m., all Georgia Power customers in Bulloch County that can receive power are getting power.”
“It is a testament to the hard work, dedication and perseverance, especially of our linemen, to handle such a large task with safety in mind,” he said.
Between 16,000 and 17,000 of Georgia Power’s customers in Bulloch County were without power during the peak of the storm, while outages statewide affected an estimated 950,000 customer locations. In a news release on its corporate website, Georgia Power reported that 940,000 of them had been restored by noon Friday.
“The company is on track to restore power to 95 percent of all customers impacted by Hurricane Irma, who can accept power, by Saturday night or earlier,” the statement asserted.
That would be one day earlier than Georgia Power originally projected.
In the wake of a storm, power companies avoid saying that service has been restored to every customer location. Instead, a full restoration is achieved when all those “that can receive power” or “can accept power” are reconnected. This reflects the likelihood that some buildings were too damaged to have power turned back on safely.
Sawhill expressed “a special thanks to our customers for their patience and the families of our employees, especially as we continue the restoration efforts throughout Georgia because of Hurricane Irma.”
Meanwhile, Excelsior Electric Membership Corporation, based in Metter, displayed “Total outages: 0” on the outage map for its service area, touching all or parts of eight counties, as of 4:30 p.m. Friday. Outages on Excelsior’s map had been pared down to one or two at a time by the previous evening.
One new outage, affecting six Bulloch customers, was shown on Excelsior’s map at 6:15 p.m. Friday, with a crew assigned to fix it.
Irma, a maximally deadly Category 5 hurricane earlier in the Caribbean and still a major hurricane when it struck Florida, had declined to tropical storm status when its center passed through southwestern Georgia.