Hometown Heroes: Georgia Power workers

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - When the lights went out during Tropical Storm Hermine, Georgia Power went to work.

"We had over 100,000 customers out, but we managed to get them back on in 48 hours," said Swann Seiler, of Georgia Power. "That is a tremendous accomplishment when you think about what our guys had to go through."

It wasn't simply long hours, three consecutive days of 6-hour shifts.

It was also challenging work because 70 percent of the outages were due to tree damages and many of the downed power lines were difficult to reach.

"In the Savannah area, we still have 60 of our stuff in backyards," said Georgia Power crew leader Donald Stevens. "So, that meant if you couldn't get a machine to it, if you couldn't get a truck to it, which meant you put your hooks on and climbed."

"We had people that had to have swamp buggies to get out into the swamp to change out poles," added Seiler. "I heard another story where the pole was broken off so far down the woods, our people literally hiked down a trail to get to it."

Georgia Power crews from around the state and sister power companies from other states contributed to the 2,000 workers, that also included almost 400 local employees, WTOC Hometown Heroes helping people in their hometown.

And, if needed, they'd do it all over again this weekend.

"Absolutely," said lineman apprentice Matthew Ortiz. "It's my job, it's what I'm paid to do and I enjoy doing the work."

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