Lowndes Co. community shows appreciation to line workers, businesses see power restored

Georgia Power on outages and restorations
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 9:45 PM EDT
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VALDOST, Ga. (WALB) - Georgia Power was one of the most impacted companies following Hurricane Idalia, with 100% of its service area impacted in Valdosta.

Several organizations, businesses and people have expressed their support for the line workers by donating food, water, coffee and other supplies to the line workers who have been working to restore power since last week.

“Some of us are working 16-18 hour days going home without power, trying to get some rest, sleeping, sweating,” Josh Day, a Georgia Power troubleman, said. “We have families too, we have homes too that we go back to without power, but we’re still here supporting our community, trying to get everybody back on as quick as possible”

Over 1,300 line workers showed up from Mississippi and Alabama companies, as well as contractors in the area, to assist in restoring power across the Valdosta region.

“We were a little overwhelmed with the people that did want to help,” Joe Brownlee, Georgia Power Southwest director, said. “We got so many requests to give the linemen coffee. It was very humbling, all the people that wanted to reach out and feed us and say thank you.”

While many business owners were affected by the power outage that paused services for days, power restoration efforts started straight away.

“We were closed for the first couple of days,” Lise Good, owner of Oshun Venus Beauty, said. “I already knew they were going to need time, but I did receive text messages regularly just letting us know what’s going on and that it would be restored soon.”

Almost all of Valdosta was without power at the height of the power outages.

“I was very grateful. As a business owner, there is a thousand things on your mind on one time especially a small business, as small as mine. So for that to be one less thing on my plate I was very grateful,” Good said.

“We set a goal to have 95% of customers back on by Saturday around midnight,” Alan Folsom, Georgia Power Valdosta Distribution manager, said. “We hit it actually a couple hours early. And that was really just do to the massive effort of our team making sure folks with boots on the ground restored service as soon as possible and we route the resources to help them do that. This was obviously a massive storm, so I think we did a really good job doing that in the amount of time that we did,” Fosom To have everyone that could take power back on by Monday was a massive effort and a great success by our team.”

Nearly a week after the storm, Georgia Power said nearly all clients now have power, and they are finally getting back to normal operations, with single-digit numbers of outages.

“Those that are without service are the ones that basically couldn’t take service,” Brownlee said. Something was wrong with their house or meter that required an electrician but to be honest, on a normal day, we’re not that far off. While we’re not back to normal, we’re real close to the number of outages.”

Brownlee said there’s still a lot of cleanup with trees hanging near powerlines that haven’t fallen yet. He urges the community to be safe and try to prevent any future damage by having trees cut.

Georgia Power thanks the community for their support, patience, and feedback during this difficult time