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Crews respond quickly to Newton, Rockdale outages

CONYERS – Crews worked through Wednesday night into Thursday to quickly restore power outages reported in Rockdale and Newton counties due to ice storm Pax.

Covington-based Snapping Shoals EMC used Facebook to provide the number of outages its crews were working to restore. On Wednesday night, there were 2,249 Snapping Shoals customers without electricity.

Public relations specialist Leigh Anne Burgess said Snapping Shoals crews responded to isolated downed trees and trees on lines throughout its service territory, which covers parts of Rockdale, Henry, Newton, DeKalb, Butts, Walton, Jasper and Morgan counties.

By Thursday morning, the outages decreased and Snapping Shoals crews worked to restore power to 12 customers.

Covington Utility Director Tim Morris said his department began fielding calls early Wednesday morning but never saw more than 350 outages as the storm moved through the community.

“Our electric and gas utilities personnel had all bucket trucks and necessary material ready to respond Wednesday morning. We received our first storm-related outage call at 6:40 a.m. and continued to respond to fallen pine tree reports,” Morris said. “A steady stream of reports throughout Wednesday through Thursday morning. We never exceeded more than 350 customers without power at any given time. We are very pleased with the minimal outages our customers experienced.”

Morris said the minimal problems through this ice storm is a testament to not only the system’s reliability but “also illustrates the responsiveness of our utility crews to provide electricity and gas to our community.”

By noon Thursday, Morris and the crews stayed alert to melting ice and the high winds, but he expected to return to normal schedule today.

Walton EMC representative Greg Brooks said Wednesday morning was the worst the company saw with about 3,400 customers without power between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. in north Rockdale and south Gwinnett counties. The customer-owned power company serves about 121,000 accounts over its 10-county service area.

Brooks said it was an easy night experiencing no outages from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday.

“We are guardedly optimistic at the moment. Things are still quiet, but ice is still on the trees,” Brooks said. “We will probably have more limited outages this afternoon if the winds pick up to the 20 to 25 mph range that’s predicted. I think we’ve dodged the main bullet … maybe cannonball is a better term. EMCs in the middle of the state are having it pretty rough right now, so it seems the main thrust of the worst weather was below us.”