Flint Energies has Reduced Power Outages from 31,000 to Just Over 10,000

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

35 hours after power restoration began, Flint Energies has restored about 20,000 members, leaving 10,201 to be served in the coming days.

“Power restoration crews worked 24 hours straight from the beginning of restoration at 8 pm on Monday night,” said Chief Operating Officer Ty Diamond. “We used new crews to work overnight on Tuesday while the Flint linemen rested.” 

“Today, Flint will begin the day with massive numbers of new workers from North Carolina, Missouri and Kentucky who will join us in the battle,” he said. 

“Irma was an epic storm,” said Vice President of Cooperative Communications Marian McLemore. “It took Flint 80 years to build our 17-county electric system, and took just 24 hours of storm conditions to destroy 35% of it. This is an unprecedented outage event for Flint.”

“As with any strong power restoration plan, we have worked over the first 35 hours to repair the backbone of the Flint system first,” she said. “In an effort to get the greatest number of homes back on as soon as possible, service to critical needs (hospitals, water and sewer, emergency operations), substations, primary lines, and then secondary lines will be handled in this priority by the crews. Then the attention focuses on individual services. Our goal is to restore power safely to the greatest number of people in the shortest time possible.”

McLemore added: “For all our planning and resources, power restoration takes time. This process will be more like a marathon than a sprint. It will take multiple days to restore all power.”

While the final outcome is unclear, there will likely be a few members who are still out of power through the weekend, she added.

Reporting Outages

By phone--Flint’s phone system at 1-888-354-6836 worked much better on Tuesday, with added inbound phone line capacity, reduced number of members calling and an additional 24 employees “live answering” outage reports. The system works by matching the members’ caller ID number with the phone number in the Flint billing database. If the match does not occur automatically, the system will ask an agent to confirm the outage location.

By Smart phone app--Members can also use the Flint Energies app on their smart phone to report an outage (Some Android versions not available.)

Online at the website--You can also report your outage at www.flintenergies.com

What has Been Accomplished

1. Power to hospitals, medical facilities, first responders, emergency management locations has been assured

2. Power to critical loads like water and wastewater plants, water towers

3. Power restored to most of those who serve member needs like grocery stores and gas stations (ice, water, food, etc.)

4. Power restored to most schools so learning can begin again

5. Replacement of more than 30 broken poles

6. Dozens of trees removed 

What is yet to Be Accomplished

1. Completion of a systemwide survey of every mile of power line to be sure we do not miss damage

2. Restore 11 circuit-level outages which are the highest priority for work on Wednesday

3. Once the circuits out of the substations have been restored, crews will move to the single phase tap line outages

4. Finally, there are more than 400 individual and smaller outages across Flint’s 17-county service area which need to be addressed

5. Repair power lines that cross Interstate 75

6. Repair many broken poles and crossarms 

Options for Medical Priority Patients

Flint Energies cannot assure that electric power will always be available. If a member depends on life support, and the loss of electricity affects these life support systems, they must have a back-up plan. Flint will give critical care members priority when it begins restoring power at the tap-line and individual home stage of the restoration process, but that process will not begin until the circuit outages are handled. This stage of restoration has not yet started after the Irma damage. Caregivers of in-home critical care patients should always have an evacuation plan or a plan for how to handle extended outages in the event of a natural disaster or severe storm.