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Crews from seven states helped restore county's power after storm

Power company crews from seven states helped Georgia Power and Jefferson Energy restore electrical service after a storm on April 5.

McDuffie and neighboring counties were hard hit by wind and lightning, which began toppling trees about 2:30 a.m.

"We had everyone restored by Friday," Georgia Power spokeswoman Carol Boatright said Monday. The utility called in 500 crews from seven states to restore power across the state.

Jefferson Energy spokesman Steve Chalker said scattered outages continued as late as April 6, "and we worked through and took care of it." Jefferson accepted aid from another Georgia cooperative, Little Ocmulgee near Alamo, and from a private contractor.

There were no reports of injuries in the McDuffie area. Boatright and Chalker said no repair workers were injured and stressed that safety is a priority.

Some families scurried to find backup generators to keep their power operating in the heat. Some homeowners said they lost the contents of their freezers.

At Raysville Bait & Tackle & Cafe, owner Adam "Bubba" Murphy said the power was out until 6:10 p.m.

"We lost about 75 dozen herring and about three pounds of minnows," Murphy said. "I was in the process of moving everything out when it kicked back in," he said.

The store did not have to dump the contents of the freezer.

Murphy said there was no storm damage to the store, but downed lines closer to Thomson cut the power supply.

Georgia Power's Boatright said that more than half a million customers were affected but that many of the outages lasted only a couple of minutes. She said more help was needed from outside the company because the damage was spread across the state.

"Everyone was busy in their own area," she said of Georgia Power crews.

"Many of the utilities across the Southeast participate in a resource sharing agreement," she explained. "We go to help somebody else, and they come to help us."

However, the utility will have to pick up the cost for the outside crews.

Jefferson Energy's Chalker also said repairs took longer because damage was so scattered.

"We're all back to normal," Chalker said Monday. "Of course the situation you run into is it knocks the main line out, but it knocks the individual services out, too."

He said that between 10,000 and 11,000 customers were without power but that at least half of those had power restored quickly.

Web posted on Thursday, April 14, 2011

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