MOULTRIE -- Residents getting their work weeks started spent about 30 minutes in darkness after a Georgia Power transmission switch failed Monday morning.

All major businesses, including City Hall, schools, churches and the Observer, were affected along with roughly 5,500 Moultrie residents, City of Moultrie Utilities Director Roger King said. The temporary blackout also affected residents outside Moultrie, but city officials did not know how severe the effect was there.

The blackout occurred when Georgia Power attempted to switch a transmission line outside the city, King said. When technicians did so, the switch failed, cutting off power to one of three major phases, or wires. Power was knocked out around 9:30 a.m. and restored shortly after 10 a.m.

King said all of Moultrie's schools and businesses use all three phases for their power, so losing one resulted in the outage. Some residential areas did not face outages but "just about everyone at least saw blinks."

It is a very unusual event when a transmission system goes down like it did Monday, King said. Monday was only the third time it has happened in King's 10 years of service with the Utility Department.

King said the city deeply regrets the blackout taking place, but he hopes residents will understand the situation was "absolutely beyond our control."

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