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Saturday's power outage still under investigation

POSTED: March 10, 2014 11:33 p.m.

The power outage in North Hall County on Saturday night remains under investigation, said Craig Heighton, public affairs director for Georgia Transmission Corp.

A piece of equipment called a swivel that was holding up a section of power line failed in an area off Sardis Church Road, allowing the line to sag into another power line, breaking some poles and plunging the area into darkness, Heighton said.

“This was a very, extremely rare incident,” Heighton said.

Georgia Transmission is replacing wooden poles that have been up “since before Lake Lanier was even there,” Heighton said, with steel or concrete ones, from the Leach Road substation into Gainesville.

“The project manager on the job has been in the business over 30 years, and he said he had never seen such an occurrence,” Heighton said. 

“That particular swivel was rated at 7,500 pounds, and it was estimated it only had 2,500 pounds on it, and it still failed,” he said.

The swivel allows different lines to be stretched to different tensions while being moved from an old pole to a new one, Heighton said. The swivels are only used when the lines are being changed, he said.

“We’re still investigating why it failed,” Heighton said. “We checked out the rest of the line and tested all the additional swivels.”

Georgia Power said 65 of its customers were affected, and Jackson EMC said it had 1,200 customers lose power.

Power was restored by early Sunday morning.

“We were very fortunate that nobody was hurt,” Heighton said.


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