Georgia utility crews hustle to help in wake of Irene

Georgia utility workers are helping other states get the lights back on in wake of Hurricane Irene.

Georgia Power will be sending crews to Virginia to aid in recovery efforts from Hurricane Irene, but not to North Carolina, as originally planned.

Progress Energy in North Carolina had originally expected to need help from Georgia workers, but Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said Sunday that the North Carolina company had released its crews.

"They had crews from other areas meet their needs," he said.

However, Kraft said he has gotten requests from Dominion Virginia Power to send crews there.

Georgia Power is still working out the details of the assistance, and Kraft said he did not know how many crews would be needed.

"They're recruiting resources from all over," he said. "It's a fluid situation."

Personnel from many electric membership corporations in Georgia are headed to North Carolina and Maryland to help those states’ electric co-ops restore power to areas hardest hit by Hurricane Irene.

“We are eager to help our sister co-ops,” said Georgia EMC Vice President of Safety & Training Jim Wright. “Being an electric co-op means calling upon your neighbors during emergencies. We have an unwritten agreement that says if we’re in trouble, they help us. In return, we help them.”

Georgia EMCs currently have approximately 147 linemen responding to the call for help. Approximately 60 Georgia EMC linemen are headed for Jones Onslow EMC in Jacksonville, N.C., and approximately 87 linemen are headed for Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative in Hughesville, Md.