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Power expected to return by Sunday for thousands impacted by Zeta

The tropical storm downed trees and power lines, knocking out power for a million Georgians.

ATLANTA — The cleanup continues for hundreds of thousands of people in metro Atlanta impacted by Tropical Storm Zeta. While power crews spent much of the day Thursday assessing storm damage and managing power sources for the nearly one million customers who lost power statewide, it could take a few more days to fully restore electricity.

Zeta is responsible for deadly consequences, as the storm downed trees and power lines, snapped power poles, and destroyed transformers. Georgia Power said it had already restored power to nearly 500,000 customers as of Thursday night. However, more than 300,000 people woke up without power Friday, according to Georgia Power and Georgia EMC. Georgia Power estimated 95% of customers who lost power would have it restored by Sunday, if not earlier. 

Georgia Power said usually, additional crews and resources would be available for cleanup, repairs and power restoration. The company blamed widespread damage from the storm and said customers in the dark need to have patience until linemen can safely restore power. Georgia Power likened Zeta's destruction to that of Hurricane Michael in 2018.

Fallen trees blocked some people into their neighborhoods. Others have had to rely on other sources to keep warm as the nights grow colder. 

Georgia EMC said Georgia Transmission Corp. reported 93% of electrical substations are back at full power, and nearly 20 high-voltage transmission lines have been repaired or replaced. Georgia EMC spokesperson Terri Statham said the average time to replace a broken distribution pole is four hours, which she explained could lead to a lengthy recovery process for restoring power for thousands. 

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