Georgia EMCs reported Friday morning that about 144,000 customers were still without power. By Friday afternoon, 129,000 didn’t have electricity. At the peak, the EMCs had 210,000 people without power.
Terri Statham, a spokesperson for the EMCs, said Hurricane Michael caused significant damage to the state's electrical infrastructure. She called it some of the worst destruction Georgia had seen in decades.
Statham did not have estimates for how long it would be before power was restored, but said in many cases it would be several days, and in more rural areas, it could take a week or more.
“Hurricane Michael is proving to be unlike any storm we’ve had in recent memory,” she said in an email. “With this storm, the severity of damage is significantly worse than Irma since Michael also caused major damage to the high voltage transmission system — damage to towers, transmission lines and substations.”
She said the EMCs had to “completely rebuild” portions of the transmission and distribution network after nearly 100 substations were out of service during and after the storm. Earlier, it had been reported that 68 lost power. Dozens of transmission lines were also affected.
Statham said access had been a “tremendous problem” since the hardest-hit areas are agricultural, with soft soil, which makes it hard to move the heavy equipment needed to make repairs. She also said high voltage lines that are normally 100 feet in the air have come down, and are submerged in water.
Workers from several other states have come to Georgia to help the EMCs, Statham said. Georgia Power has 4,800 workers on the ground Friday repairing more than 2,000 downed lines and poles.