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Crews from Northeast Georgia help restore power on coast
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Eric Brown stands near a small apartment in his backyard Sunday, heavily damaged by a fallen water oak during Hurricane Matthew that went through Savannah. Brown's main house in southeast Savannah wasn't damaged. - photo by KATHLEEN FOODY

Power crews from Northeast Georgia are helping restore power along the East Coast after Hurricane Matthew affected hundreds of thousands of residents.  

Both Georgia Power and Jackson EMC sent workers to aid in the efforts.

Georgia Power said it had about 5,000 total workers from its company and assisting utilities available to work around the clock during the weekend, as Chatham, Glynn, Effingham, Bulloch and Liberty counties were those most affected along the Georgia coast. The company sent about 90 workers from its Northeast Georgia region to help.

Jefferson-based Jackson EMC said it has released nine construction contract crews and 22 right of way contract crews, as well as sending 26 cooperative employees and 15 trucks to restore power along the coasts of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. More than 300 line workers and right of way crews from 21 non-affected EMCs and contractors across Georgia were part of Jackson EMC’s work, according to a news release.

Georgia Power said it expected to have service restored to more than 90 percent of customers impacted by the storm, who can accept power, by midnight Wednesday. The utility reported more than 340,000 customers lost power during Hurricane Matthew, which brought winds of more than 100 mph, flooding, and according to Georgia Power, “was the strongest storm to hit the region in a century.”

Some homes are damaged to the point that they can’t accept power right now.

Jackson EMC personnel left Jefferson and Lawrenceville early Sunday to drive to Coastal Electric Cooperative in Walterboro, S.C., which had about two-thirds of its members lose power. As of Monday morning, almost 60 percent of that cooperative’s members still were without power.

“One of the great things about cooperatives is that we come to each other’s aid,” said Jackson EMC Director of Operations Services Dwayne Ansley in a news release. “We benefitted from other cooperatives’ help during the 2015 ice storm, and we’re happy to return the favor.”

As part of Southern Company, as well as a national mutual assistance network, Georgia Power has been able to receive assistance from other utilities not impacted by the storm to aid in restoration efforts. Utilities from other states, including Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, are currently in Georgia working alongside Georgia Power crews to restore service for customers.

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