After helping restore power for all but the remaining few members of Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) whose homes and businesses were flooded, Jackson Electric Membership Cooperative (EMC) crews returned home Wednesday evening.
Twenty-one Jackson EMC personnel and 12 vehicles left Georgia on Saturday morning, arriving in advance of Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, and joined hundreds of linemen from SMECO, other Georgia and North Carolina co-ops, and contractors in a race to restore electricity as quickly and safely as possible.
“With 60 co-op linemen on-hand from Georgia and an additional 32 from North Carolina, SMECO was able to quickly restore power to those who lost it in the wake of the storm,” said Dwayne Ansley, Director, Operation Services.
Ansley said that even though millions in the Northeast are still without power, most of the co-ops in the region were are in good shape or making good progress with the crews they had. “Many of the customers who are without power right now are further north, and they have resources committed in that area already. We do have contract construction and right-of-way crews that we released who are still working in Baltimore and Connecticut. Our crews were ready to move on to another location if they were needed, but there were no outstanding requests for assistance from other cooperatives in the area we were working.”
In recent years, Jackson EMC linemen have worked alongside fellow co-op workers in the wake of storms and disasters elsewhere in Georgia, as well as in Kentucky, Mississippi and neighboring states.
Ansley said that whenever disaster strikes, Jackson EMC linemen are ready to deploy when called. “Because of the size and potential impact of Hurricane Sandy, we anticipated a call for assistance,” said Ansley, who coordinates storm restoration efforts for Jackson EMC. “Once we got the call from SMECO, we were ready to put our crews and equipment into action right away.”
Jackson EMC is a consumer-owned cooperative providing electricity and related services to more than 186,900 residential and 20,000 commercial and industrial customers in 10 metro Atlanta and northeast Georgia counties. It is the largest electric cooperative in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation, based in Jefferson, Ga.