Carrollton, GA – Electricity isn’t something most of us think about until, well, we don’t have it, but we depend on it so much. This dairy and poultry farm in West Georgia is the same way, except if they don’t have it for too long, there could be a lot of money lost.
“Power failure in the middle of making milk, completely kills us,” says Becky Treccia, Processing Manager for West Georgia Creamery. “We either have to throw out the milk, or it’s got to sit in the vat for a long period of time until the power comes back on.”
Not to mention that when the cows don’t get milked, it could harm their health.
“If we do not milk our heifers, they will get sick, it’s just like any other human, naturally if we create something, it has to be pulled from our bodies,” says Treccia.
For the most part though, they don’t have to worry about power outages, but when they do lose power, there’s a good reason for it.
“We actually have power pretty well down here, the only time I think we didn’t have power for a long period of time I think was in the snow, and that snow was heavy,” says Treccia.
That reliable power can be contributed to Carroll EMC. We got a chance to visit the command center, so we can get a look at what all goes into making sure the grid is up and running. In order for that to happen, someone is in this room 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“When the storm comes through, this the main hub, this is where all the outages come to, once members call and report their power out,” says Carmen Hopson, System Control Technician.
Their goal is to have the power restored as fast as possible and as safely as possible.
“To have someone dispatched out to an outage is usually within 5 minutes, of course if it’s a major outage, it may take a little bit longer to get the correct crew there, once we look at the map and see who’s the closest,” says Hopson.
That’s the easy part compared to what comes next, and that is actually fixing the lines.
“A lot of times when we’re out there working, it’s many, many hours, sometimes all night, we have worked anywhere from 18 to 24 hours straight before we can get some help or relief in,” says Wesley Benefield, a lineman with Carroll EMC.
Obviously, there are a lot of dangers involved when working out in the elements, not to mention the fact that they’re working with high voltage lines.
“It’s very dangerous because we have been working several hours, then we’re working with high voltages, 7200 volts, or 14400 volts and a lot of times we haven’t had sleep that we might be wanting,” says Benefield.
There are also some other things on their minds.
“You’re having to be totally aware of your surroundings and what was going on, and not to mention our families at home, you know we all have families that we’ve left that we’re thinking about how they’re doing or what’s going on with them, so there’s many things going through the mind and a lot of hazards out there that we’re dealing with,” says Benefield.
By: John Holcomb