It’s happening again.
Nearly a year after a group of Sandy Springs residents living in the city’s Dunwoody panhandle complained about experiencing frequent non-weather-related power outages, they said it’s continued in 2020.
In late September 2019, Bob Skiba and his neighbors said they were fed up with Georgia Power’s lack of response to the frequent outages over the past decade and beyond, even threatening to start a petition and present it to both Georgia Power and the Public Service Commission, which regulates the state’s utility companies.
At the time Skiba reported the issue to the Neighbor, which contacted Georgia Power about the issue, and the problem was temporarily solved. But this year it’s continued, he said, with at least 20 outages and surges this year and five just in August, though some were weather-related ones.
“(Due to) the power surges, a year or two years ago, I put a power surge (protector) on the (house’s) main electrical panel, and I’m still getting issues with pool equipment and big-screen TVs and appliances I’ve had to replace parts for,” Skiba said.
Skiba, who has resided on Churchill Drive for 11 years, said the issue has been prevalent the entire time he’s lived there. He said the problem is impacting the Marlborough Estates subdivision, which has about 365 homes, and another 100 homes in adjacent neighborhoods.
Skiba and his neighbors weighed in on the issue on the Nextdoor website/mobile app.
“Another breeze. Another outage,” one resident said.
Another resident added, “Yes I have noticed brief power outages. I think we had one early Thursday or Friday morning around 2:00 am. As you know the short blips are in addition to losing power on 8/3, 8/4, 8/13 and 8/14. I feel like this is monsoon season! We seem to be having a lot more rain than usual.”
Said another resident, “Georgia Power. Here we go again. Spalding Road from Jett Ferry to Roberts Drive. Power is off. All the time if the wind blows three times the power goes out. Horrible power grid on this stretch of road?”
However, Skiba said he’s gotten a swift and positive reply from Georgia Power Kelly McTier, a senior engineer with Southern Co., Georgia Power’s parent company, who he contacted about the problem.
“They’ve been very responsive,” he said of Georgia Power. “They’ve stepped up the pruning of branches on Spalding Drive by power lines.”
Craig Bell, a Georgia Power spokesman, said the company is aware of the issue and is working to resolve it.
“We appreciate our customers’ concerns and understand that outages of any length are an inconvenience,” he said. “Our records show outages on this circuit in 2020 have been caused by bad weather or downed tree limbs.”
In addition to pruning branches near power lines, Bell said the company will “regularly inspect our transmission and distribution network, including in-person visits and aerial flyovers.”
“The tree canopy in this area is very dense,” he added. “Our teams are diligently working in the area performing enhanced maintenance. These efforts include pruning the full right-of-way, targeted tree removals and identification of ‘danger trees’ on or along the right of way that pose a threat to electric service.
“Our teams also recently upgraded a key manual switch on the circuit with a new automated device. We expect this to reduce the number and length of outages. … As a result of Georgia Power maintenance and smart technology investments over the last two years, customers in the area have experienced fewer outages, and our efforts will continue.”
Skiba said this year the residents have not yet planned to start an online petition, but that could change if the conditions don’t improve.
“Are they doing something? Yes. Is it enough? No,” he said. “I hear them and applaud the effort, but let’s be diligent. … You can trim the limbs, branches or trees that infringe on power lines.”