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Utility ready to start next wave of upgrades
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Affected areas

Affected areas this week
March 1 (Alternate date March 2)
Log Landing Road from Highway 21 to Shadowbrook Drive (does not include Shadowbrook subdivision)
Highway 21 from Highway 275 to St. Boniface Church.
Ralph Rahn Road from Highway 21 to McCall Road
McCall Road from Neidlinger Lane to south of Webb Road (does not include Webb Road)

March 3 (Alternate date March 4)
Shadowbrook subdivision
Log Landing Road from Shadowbrook Drive to south of Stillwood Drive


Power upgrade/outage updates
See the Effingham Herald or visit Web site or the Effingham Herald Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on the planned outages.

Georgia Power is about to start its next wave of transmission upgrades throughout the county — and that means there will be isolated power outages.

The utility has gone through two rounds of outages, called steps, as it improves its lines from 12,000 volts to 25,000 volts.

“That’s an additional 45 percent more load,” said Brian Dickey, Georgia Power Coastal Region engineering supervisor. “It’s a huge capacity upgrade and it also gives (customers) better voltage support. It’s a win-win move.”

The planned outages for the spring upgrade will affect more than 7,100 customers, Georgia Power officials said. The cost of the upgrades in Effingham County alone is $15 million and could reach $25 million.

“That is a significant investment in Effingham County,” Dickey said. “We see Effingham County as a growth market, and Georgia Power wants to be prepared.”

The new transformer taps, and in some cases, new transformers, are expected to allow Georgia Power to meet the growth demand in Effingham and to meet the needs of expected development.

“It’s a great economic development opportunity to help growth,” said area manager Dinah King.

The upgrades have been two years in the making, and a lot of preparation work has been done for the areas to receive the upgrades. The current phase begins Monday and lasts through June 7. Each area to undergo an outage will have a rain date.

Work on outage days will begin at 9 a.m. and each outage is expected to last about eight hours, except for an outage at Town Park West and Town Park East. That outage, because of the number of underground transformers involved, may take 12 hours.

Georgia Power also will have upgrade steps this fall. But the spring outages will be the largest, bigger than the two series of upgrades last year combined. There will be 22 steps over the next two months and many of them will affect businesses and traffic.

“We are communicating with each individual customer,” said Stan Sparks.

Residential customers will get a postcard about 10 to 14 days in advance of their planned outage. The postcards will inform residents of what will take place and ask them to update their phone number with Georgia Power.

They will then get two phone calls, one seven days in advance and another 48 hours in advance, to remind them of the anticipated outage.
Commercial customers will get a letter a month in advance, with a follow-up letter about one to two weeks ahead of the outage. They also will get two phone calls to remind them about the upgrades.

Because most residents are not home during the day and since many businesses have a higher volume of traffic on Saturdays, Georgia Power has scheduled the outages for weekdays. For their own workers’ safety, they also have scheduled the work for daytime hours.

“Our goal is to make this as convenient as possible,” Dickey said.

Since stretches of Highway 21 will be affected by the outages, Georgia Power is coordinating with local law enforcement agencies for those periods when power is turned off for traffic signals.

Georgia Power officials said the upgrades will provide better service now and in years to come.

“For future benefit, we need to do this,” Sparks said.