MONROE, Ga. – Walton Electric Membership Corporation is preparing to restore power if Hurricane Irma brings down trees and power lines.
“We have a long history of dealing with weather related outages,” said Greg Brooks, Walton EMC spokesperson. “If there are large outages, our objective is to get power flowing again to as many customers as safely as possible in the shortest time.”
After the dangerous weather passes, crews go to work assessing damage. The first repairs are made to substations and the backbone of the grid. Then attention is turned to key services that provide community safety and welfare, like hospitals and water plants. After that, repairs are prioritized by the largest number of accounts restored in the shortest time.
Walton EMC is stocked with poles, wire, connectors, transformers and other supplies frequently used in the restoration process. Vendors have been contacted to be on standby in case additional materials are needed.
Operations supervisors are reviewing crew assignments so they’ll quickly be able to dispatch help to affected areas. The statewide EMC disaster plan has laid the groundwork for quickly getting help from sister EMCs if it’s needed.
“An advantage for us is that EMC line workers all receive the same training,” said Brooks. This means they can go to another EMC and work side-by-side with local line workers or work as independent crews.”
Walton EMC has also contacted contract tree-trimming crews to make them aware of a possible call for assistance. All of Walton EMC’s employees pitch in during major outages wherever needed.
The company is also coordinating efforts to facilitate customer communication. In addition to fully staffing the company’s call center if needed, automated phone and Internet outage reporting systems are already on line. These automated systems handle calls quicker than human operators and allow the majority of employees to focus on getting power restored.
A comprehensive storm preparation and outage guide is available free from bit.ly/wemc_irma
Walton EMC is a customer-owned power company that serves 127,000 accounts over its ten-county service area between Atlanta and Athens. For background information on power outages and the current status of repairs, log on to waltonemc.com and click on “Storm Center.”
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