Cathy Hill, Regional Vice President of Georgia Power, talked to us on Wednesday morning.  It was an opportune time for this presentation, coming as it did on the heels of Hurricane Matthew.  Cathy has a BS in electrical engineering and an MBA.  She leads the 300 employees of Coastal Georgia Power in engineering, construction, sales, customer service government relations and community development.
Cathy is a member of the Rotary Club of Savannah (the ‘downtown’ club) and is involved in a host of community service organizations on behalf of Georgia Power including the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, Savannah Tech, Armstrong, Georgia Tech, Memorial, Candler, Step-Up Savannah, and more.

Cathy gave us a brief update of Georgia Power’s current business, its infrastructure, grid, wind projects, the transmission systems, plant modernization plans and customer services. Then she turned to the subject on the minds of all of us that Wednesday morning – the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Cathy gave us some statistics: over 1000 power poles damaged, 120 miles of wire needing replacement, 3500+ fallen trees which damaged equipment, and 6000 response personnel who responded to this mess. She paid tribute to the dedication and hard work by these men (and some women) who responded to the widespread need for power restoration and to the long hours they worked to provide help.

Georgia Power (which merged with Savannah Electric in 2006) engages in many community endeavors in the areas of improving education, protecting the environment, supporting Arts and Culture, community service and volunteering. The list of the beneficiaries of its charitable giving is long – see above – and the company has donated >$6 million in the past ten years. As a customer service Georgia Power now offers electronic meter monitoring and advice on conservation to customers who want to participate in the service.

Answering a question about the cost of the response to the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, Cathy said there will most likely not be a rate increase to cover this cost. She said that power companies typically have a contingency fund which is levied as a part of consumers’ bills. It is likely that, each hurricane season, one or more power companies will need some remedial help somewhere in our southeastern region, and all are poised to offer that help. That’s why we saw electrical repair trucks with out-of-state tags on our streets as soon as the storm was over. We thanked Cathy for her presentation and many of us stayed to tell her how glad we were to see her people working as soon as it was safe to do so.
Shown below are President Bill, Cathy Hill and John Sobke