0

Crews fix power outage in McDonough

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

One hundred jurors were asked to go home Monday morning as a result of a power outage at the Henry County Courthouse in downtown McDonough.

The jurors were among the residents, businesses and others bothered by the brief interruption, according to Henry County Superior Court Clerk Barbara Harrison. Jurors were asked to return at 1 p.m., once the power was restored to the area.

"We felt it best to let them go home and come back at 1 o'clock," said Harrison, who added that glitches, sometimes, happen in the busy town square.

Georgia Power officials reported that the outage only lasted about 15 minutes, for all but 10 of the 2,100 customers impacted. A truck hit a utility pole, sending power out for businesses and residences near downtown, according to Georgia Power Spokeswoman Carol Boatright.

The utility company's crews repaired the damaged lines in quick order, having all customers back on line by noon. The crews tackling the incident would have been contracted workers, but Georgia Power linemen have increasingly taken on field duties as a result of the economic downturn, company officials said. "We're using about two-thirds fewer contractors now than before," said Boatright.

Boatright said the housing crunch has forced a shift in some duties for linemen at the electric utility. She said the shift is a part of the company's adjustment to offset the effects of the recession.

"The economy has affected our business just as it has many others," Boatright said. "We have actually reduced the number of contractors that we're using, so that our linemen and our employees can pick up the extra work, [because] there have been fewer home sells and subdivisions, so there have been fewer meter and infrastructure installations."