Maine outages to last into holiday

Posted Nov. 26, 2008, at 1:49 p.m.

There will be no electric ovens to cook turkeys and no football on TV for many Mainers on Thanksgiving, thanks to a storm that lashed some parts of the state with winds in excess of 70 mph.

“Poles are broken in half. Lines are down. Trees are down,” said spokeswoman Susan Faloon of Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., whose Down East coverage area appeared to be the state’s hardest-hit. “The damage is very extensive.”

Bangor Hydro and Central Maine Power said many of their customers would be without electric service on Thanksgiving. There were no immediate estimates of how many would be affected, but there was no doubt Tues-day’s storm that lasted into Wednesday would change traditional holiday plans for many.

As of late Wednesday morning, nearly 14,400 Bangor Hydro customers remained without service, most of them in Hancock County. The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 67 mph in Brooklin, 61 mph in Jonesport and 74 mph in Sedgwick Ridge.

About 10 miles off the coast, an 83 mph blast was recorded at Matinicus Rock, said the weather service’s Tom Hawley.

CMP said just shy of 23,000 customers remained without service at midday Wednesday, with the bulk of them in coastal areas. Customers most likely to remain in the dark on Thursday are in the Knox and Waldo county areas, according to spokesman John Carroll, although some in Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties may also be affected.

Some of the peak wind speeds in CMP’s service area included 53 mph in Rockland, 47 mph in Augusta, 45 mph in Brunswick and 41 mph in Lewiston.

Damage resulting from the storm was more than Maine utility crews could handle themselves and help was en route from New Brunswick Power, Faloon said.

An emergency declaration by Gov. John Baldacci on Tuesday night facilitated a federal Department of Transpor-tation waiver to extend the hours of service for electrical workers and allow additional crews from other states to help with repairs in Maine.

Baldacci issued a statement encouraging people to be careful, report any outages and to not touch downed power lines.

“I know that crews are working hard to restore power as quickly as possible. We can all help them by staying out of their way,” the governor said.

Faloon said Bangor Hydro crews “will still definitely be repairing into next week,” but that does not mean cus-tomers would still be without service until then.

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