The lights were back on for Gulf Coast residents as they continued Monday to recover from Hurricane Sally after Southern Company system responders safely completed restoring electric service to nearly 838,000 customers affected by the Category 2 storm.
Electric service had been restored by Sunday to 99% of Alabama Power customers able to safely receive power after crews spent the weekend restoring service in and around Mobile, Ala., the hardest-hit areas. Last week, Georgia Power and Mississippi Power had safely restored service in their service territories within 24 hours of the Category 2 hurricane’s landfall.
Sally’s power disruptions affected more than 680,000 Alabama Power customers, 150,000 Georgia Power customers and 7,300 customers of Mississippi Power.
Responders kept Safety First throughout the four-day restoration and reported no serious injuries. The safe response included measures to protect against the coronavirus.
“Our crews and industry partners worked safely and quickly through difficult conditions,” said Scott Moore, Alabama Power senior vice president of Power Delivery. “I am proud of their hard work and steadfast commitment to our customers, especially during times of need.”
More than 4,000 lineworkers and support personnel from 14 states worked together to get the lights back on. Among those responding alongside Alabama Power crews were teams from Georgia Power and Mississippi Power, along with resources who came together under the industry’s mutual assistance program.
Close collaboration – across the system, with others in the industry and at state and local agencies – is a hallmark of Southern Company’s commitment to the communities we are privileged to serve and to recovering safely and quickly from storms.
Throughout the multiday restoration, teamwork was paramount as crews addressed outages in affected communities. Teams worked safely and effectively to repair broken poles and lines among a multitude of downed trees and other debris. They faced challenging conditions such as heavy rain and flooding, gusting winds and downed trees.
Responders replaced some 509 poles, 2,057 spans of wire and 541 transformers after Sally’s destruction. Southern Linc restored 24 sites that were out of service due to the storm and deployed 10 mobile assets to aid restoration efforts. The Supply Chain Management team had established five staging sites in south Alabama and made more than two dozen shipments of materials.
As Mississippi Power crews began to return home over the weekend, storm team leader Melvin Roland said: “The team has been in good spirits throughout the trip. While they have been happy to assist, they are more than happy to be headed home in what has been an active few weeks of restoration activities.”
“It has been an honor to be a part of this great restoration team,” Roland said.
Fran Forehand, Mississippi Power vice president of Customer Service and Operations, thanked responders for spending time away from loved ones to serve.
“I continue to be impressed with the professionalism, patience and perseverance in how our team responds to severe weather emergencies,” Forehand said in a message to employees. “The way you represent our brand with excellence is immeasurable.”
Hurricane Sally made landfall before daybreak Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Ala., the first hurricane to make landfall in the state since Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Slow-moving Sally’s impact was felt across the Southern Company footprint as the storm inched across Alabama and into Georgia as a tropical storm before exiting through the Carolinas.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has been a busy one for Southern Company. In addition to the Sally restoration, crews over the last six weeks have safely helped restore power to millions following Hurricane Laura, Tropical Storm Isaias and a violent derecho wind event that tore through the Midwest.