Electric Membership Cooperatives (EMCs) across Georgia are making preparations for Hurricane Irma currently scheduled to make landfall on Monday in Georgia.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday declared a state of emergency in 30 Georgia counties in anticipation of the massive storm which formed in the Atlantic last week. Included in the declaration: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Jenkins, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne and Ware Counties.
EMC officials anticipate some level of property damage and power outages as a result of the hurricane and have been in close contact with local emergency management officials and other key agencies such as Police, Fire and Public Works to discuss their respective storm plans and address problems associated with high winds, heavy rain and potential flooding caused by hurricane-force weather.
In addition, EMCs have been in close contact with neighboring states and making plans with them for additional crews to come into Georgia. In some cases, crews from Kentucky and possibly Tennessee will be coming in as early as Saturday.
EMCs maintain that emergency planning began long before Irma. Many co-ops hold exercises and drills throughout the year to practice their disaster response plans to prepare employees and contractors for a variety of emergencies including severe weather events.
Electric co-ops will continue to watch this storm closely and would like to remind members to keep abreast of the storm's development and follow updates from the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMHSA) at www.gema.ga.gov as well as announcements from the Office of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal at http://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases.
Georgia EMC is the statewide trade association representing the state's 41 EMCs, Oglethorpe Power Corp., Georgia Transmission Corp. and Georgia System Operations Corp. Collectively, Georgia's customer-owned EMCs provide electricity and related services to 4.4 million people, nearly half of Georgia's population, across 73 percent of the state's land area.