Mississippi Power’s storm crew has been receiving messages of appreciation in person and via social media for their heroic efforts to restore power in many small Georgia towns that GPS sometimes has trouble finding.
Irma, which hit Florida as a major hurricane and passed through Georgia as a tropical storm on Monday, left a wide swath of destruction and power outages across both states.
On Thursday, the Mississippi Power team received some in-person encouragement from President and CEO Anthony Wilson, Vice President of Customer Services Organization Nicole Faulk and Distribution Director Randall Pinkston, who serves as the company’s emergency operations director.
“I’m proud of the way our crews have responded safely and quickly to get the lights back on for these customers and for the way they have collaborated with our sister utility Georgia Power to make that happen,” Wilson said. “We are storm tested and our employees are at their best in times like this.
“I have received many messages about the professionalism and courtesy our team has shown here, so I am very appreciative for the great work that is being done.”
The company’s storm team of 72 line crew and 22 support personnel have been operating out of a staging site in Macon, Ga., since arriving Sunday evening.
After the storm passed on Monday, work to bring the power back earnestly began early Tuesday morning.
Mississippi Power employees have been operating out of Georgia Power offices south of Macon in Dublin and Hawkinsville, working small towns within about a 60-mile radius of Dublin.
“Our team is always willing to answer the call for storm duty,” said Faulk. “This has been a tremendous coordinated effort with our sister utility as we work together seamlessly and maximize our shared resources. Most importantly, our crews remain diligently focused on safety, so we have executed a lot of dangerous assignments and driven many miles with many vehicles without any incidents. I couldn’t be happier with the performance of our team.”
Mississippi Power teams have covered a lot of territory since Tuesday, working in communities like Allentown, Danville, Dudley, Hazelhurst, McRae, Milan, Montrose, Rhine, Soperton, Vidalia and several others.
“The people in these small towns are so excited and so appreciative to see us roll into town to get the lights back on,” said storm team leader Ken Richardson, the Meridian Distribution manager. “They probably didn’t expect to see a power crew so quickly, but we’ve received a lot of thank yous and comments that they were so happy we were there.”
On Wednesday, the owners of Tom and Sandy’s Horseshoe Restaurant in Hawkinsville offered to feed the crew for free at their buffet.
Earlier on Wednesday, a woman in McRae brought out a bag of cold bottled water for the crew repairing a tree on a power line across from her house.
Sam Bell of Perry, Ga., sent an instant message to the crew through the company’s Facebook page.
A 100-year-old oak tree fell on a power line near his house, blocking the road and knocking out power to his entire neighborhood.
“They were here assessing damages at 1 p.m. and had our power back on by 5 p.m.,” he wrote. “I just want to say thank you to that crew for their fast response and repair given the amount of damage in our town and to your company for sending them all this way.”
Tiffany Martens, another Perry resident, was happy to see a caravan of Mississippi Power trucks headed her way.
“The song playing on the radio was ‘For Those About to Rock We Salute You’ by AC/DC,” she wrote in a Facebook message. “It couldn’t have been a more appropriate theme song as they were rolling by. We appreciate you all. THANK YOU!”
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 187,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power ranked first in the Southeastern Electric Exchange’s 2016 Safety Performance Reports and is consistently recognized as an industry leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at www.mississippipower.com and www.mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.