Senoia family among few in the dark
by Clay Neely
Jacqueline Childers is starting to feel a bit, well, isolated.
After losing power at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Jacqueline, her husband, Pete, and their three children were literally in the dark and not getting any answers from Coweta-Fayette EMC.
“It’s a bit frustrating,” said Childers late Friday from her driveway on Georgia 85, just between Senoia and Haralson. “You wouldn’t know we don’t have power except for this tension cable lying in the middle of our driveway.”
All their surrounding neighbors have power, but the Childers’ home remains off the grid.
“Nobody has pulled in our driveway, no one has even slowed down,” said Childers. “It’s all I can do from standing in middle of the highway to flag down a truck. I’ve tried calling EMC, emailing them, but I can’t get a real person on the phone. If you drove around and looked at all the other homes around us, you’d never know we didn’t have power, too.”
The family has been using an inverter hooked to a boat battery that can recharge their cell phones and power a few lamps.
“We’re on total gas and have firewood, so we’re keeping warm. It’s been 56 hours and it’s like we don’t exist. Where are they and why aren’t they answering? We haven’t seen anyone.”
On Thursday night, they received word that Coweta schools would be in session the next day. Jacob, a 10-year-old Eastside Elementary student, collected water from a nearby creek so that he and his siblings could clean up before school.
“Every kid in my class had electricity but me,” said Jacob.
“In all honesty, we’ve had worse storms. It was never inaccessible to anyone. So, why? And I know there are still some that are just as hoppin’ mad as I am, but something has to give,” said Childers.
Across town on Elders Mill Road, Georgia Power linemen from Valdosta were in the middle of repairing a blown transformer Friday in one of the hardest hit areas in Senoia.
“We get people coming by and asking us when their power is going to be restored,” said lead lineman Jeb Dasher. “We left Valdosta on Tuesday and we’ve been working 16-hour shifts ever since.”
“We got the main cases of trouble last night and got the three phase mainline hot and then today just taking care of the small cases, cleaning up,” said Dasher.
Dasher’s crew doesn’t have a specific method of attack, per se. Their lead engineer gets out ahead of them, picks a circuit and figures out what’s wrong. Once he’s made his notes, it’s passed to Dasher and the other linemen.
“We never know where we’re going. We only find out once we’re done.”