Personnel from electric membership corporations (EMCs) across Georgia this week were headed to Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to help electric co-ops restore power to areas hardest hit following Hurricane Katrina.

"We are ready and eager to help," says Georgia EMC Vice President of Safety, Training & Education Jim Wright. "Being an electric co-op means calling upon your neighbors during emergencies. We have a mutual aid agreement that says if we're in trouble, they help us. In return, we help them."

Crews began leaving Tuesday and Wednesday from Central Georgia EMC in Jackson, Coastal EMC in Midway, Flint Energies in Reynolds, Grady EMC in Cairo, Hart EMC in Hartwell, Irwin EMC in Ocilla, Mitchell EMC in Camilla, North Georgia EMC in Dalton, Ocmulgee EMC in Eastman, Rayle EMC in Washington, Sawnee EMC in Cumming, Southern Rivers Energy in Barnesville, Sumter EMC in Americus, Tri-County EMC in Gray, Walton EMC in Monroe and Washington EMC in Sandersville.

Moreover, the number of EMCs offering restoration assistance will likely increase in the days ahead, after co-ops in hard hit areas assess damage and request additional resources.

The EMCs in Georgia have extensive experience in restoring power following destruction from a variety of weather events, including hurricanes. In recent years, EMC crews have worked alongside co-ops in South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida.