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SRE crews cleaning up after Isaac

The number of Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) employees headed to hard hit areas following Hurricane Isaac continues to grow, as cooperatives in the region survey damage and begin repairs to the electric distribution system. As of 2 p.m. Friday, approximately 160 employees from 15 EMCs in Georgia have traveled to Mississippi to help restore power to thousands of customers without electricity. ‘The most severe weather has moved through and allowed the electric co-ops to begin identifying outages and the areas hardest hit,’ says Georgia EMC Training, Safety and Education Vice President Jim Wright. ‘Now the real work begins.’ Approximately 100 workers from Georgia began traveling Wednesday to damaged areas in southern Mississippi. Georgia line crews are expected to stay approximately 10 to 14 days but will remain in the region for as long as necessary. The crews, trucks and equipment are being coordinated by Georgia EMC, the statewide association, which works from an emergency plan that coordinates crews during emergencies such as ice storms, tornadoes and hurricanes. One of the seven cooperative principles is ‘cooperation among cooperatives’ and Southern Rivers Energy knows full well the value of having reinforcements in the wake of a severe weather event. After April 2011’s devastating tornado, the cooperative received assistance from several neighboring EMCs to help rebuild its system and restore power to its members in less than four days. As seasoned veterans of storm repair/restoration work, Georgia’s crews have extensive experience in South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. To date, crews have been sent from Canoochee EMC in Reidsville, Carroll EMC in Carrollton, Cobb EMC in Marietta, Colquitt EMC in Moultrie, Coweta-Fayette EMC in Newnan, Diverse Power in LaGrange, Flint Energies in Reynolds, Grady EMC in Cairo, GreyStone Power in Douglasville, Okefenoke REMC in Nahunta, Rayle EMC in Washington, Satilla REMC in Alma, Snapping Shoals EMC in Covington, Southern Rivers Energy in Barnesville and Walton EMC in Monroe. That number could increase if additional crews are requested. Barnesville based Southern Rivers Energy sent a six man crew to Southern Pine Electric Power Association in Taylorsville, MS. SRE’s linemen left on Wednesday, Aug. 29 and plan to stay as long as they are needed.

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