Nearly all power outages in Coweta, Fayette restored

Nearly all power outages in Coweta and Fayette counties had been restored by Sunday morning.

A Sunday morning check of the storm maps for Coweta-Fayette EMC and Georgia Power showed there were 7 remaining power outages in Coweta and 23 in Fayette for EMC customers and none for Georgia Power customers.

That constituted a dramatic shift in outages, particularly for EMC, since 4,000 of its customers were still without power Friday morning. It was during that period when EMC had 2,200 customers in Coweta and 1,800 in Fayette without electricity.

It was late Wednesday afternoon, the first full day of the winter storm, that the two electricity providers reported 7,417 customers in Fayette and 5,253 in Coweta without power.

Of those, EMC had 4,013 outages in Coweta and 5,214 in Fayette.

Georgia Power had 2,193 customers without electricity in Fayette and 1,240 in Coweta.

Coweta-Fayette EMC Vice President of Public Relations and Communications Mary Ann Bell Friday afternoon said all main circuits were back up late Thursday or early Friday. Bell said the more than 100 local linemen and nearly 200 from other electric cooperatives and contractors from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Indiana are working locally to restore power, with more on the way.

In addressing the current outages, Bell said the time needed to restore power relates to the customer base, some of which exists in less densely populated areas which operate off individual power lines.

Responding to comments from customers that some are calling EMC on multiple occasions and receiving different information, Bell said she could not address those issues without knowing what the individual customers were told.

Forecasts of the winter storm began getting attention over the weekend. Unlike the one two weeks ago that took much of the northern half of Georgia by surprise, this storm was widely anticipated and arrived Tuesday night as forecasters predicted.

Operations centers in Coweta and Fayette were up and running before the storm hit, with road crews ready and prepared to take on what nature dished out. On the weather menu was a combination of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow, all coming essentially in that order beginning Tuesday night and continuing until Thursday morning.

Coweta County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Jay Jones and Fayette County EMA Director Pete Nelms throughout the winter storm period advised motorists in their respective counties to stay off roadways. Their words were heeded, likely preventing a number of wrecks from icy conditions on roads across both counties.

Coweta during the weather event had issues with bridges and overpasses. And though no roads were closed, there were temporary closures due to ice-covered trees and power lines crashing onto roadways across the county.

Some roads in Fayette were more problematic. Areas on Antioch Road, Ga. Highway 92 South, Rivers Road, Ga. Highway 85 and North Peachtree Parkway were among some of the ones with serious problems in terms of icing and fallen trees and power lines. Some of those areas, such as Antioch Road, continued to see road and electrical crews at work well into Thursday.

Arguably the biggest hit during the winter storm came with the thousands of power outages that crossed both counties.

The storm pages on Georgia Power and Coweta-Fayette EMC’s websites provided an ongoing way to track the outages.   

Fayette County at noon on Wednesday had more than 9,700 customers without electricity while Coweta had more than 4,700 without power.

Electric providers near 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday reported 5,253 customers in Coweta and 7,417 in Fayette without power.

By 10:30 a.m. on Thursday those numbers had altered significantly to more than 1,500 Fayette customers without power, with more than half of the outages occurring in the Fayetteville area.

In Coweta late Thursday morning there were more than 10,700 customers in the dark. In Coweta, nearly all the outages occurred in a band in east Coweta from Palmetto in the north to just below Senoia in the south. 

Fayette County Administrator Steve Rapson on Friday said the county transfer station on First Manassas Mile in Fayetteville will waive fees next weekend for residents to bring “storm-related debris materials” to be deposited at no charge. Weekend hours run from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

City and county officials in Fayette and Coweta praised the efforts of road crews, public safety and first responders and the host of others whose efforts paid off during the second, and perhaps final, winter storm of 2014.