Islanders take loss of power in stride

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 27, 2008, at 8:59 p.m.

DEER ISLE, Maine — Thanksgiving Day may have been a little quieter than usual in this coastal town, but there was one thing that stood out from the usual peaceful holiday atmosphere.

Power company crews, from Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. and from New Brunswick Power, were busy trying to restore power to hundreds of residents who lost it in the fierce wind storm earlier in the week.

According to Bangor Hydro, more than 700 of its 800 customers who were still without power at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day live in Hancock County. Of those, most appeared to be on the Blue Hill Peninsula. About 40 customers in Penobscot County were still without power, as were three in Piscataquis County.

“Particularly challenging will be the Blue Hill and Stonington areas,” the company said in a news release Thursday. “Bangor Hydro crews, along with outside resources including seven crews from New Brunswick Power, will work through the day until [power is] restored.”

Central Maine Power Co. said it still had more than 2,100 customers without power on Thanksgiving Day, and nearly 1,600 of them were in the Rockland and Belfast areas. CMP indicated in a news release that more than 400 people, including tree crews and power supply workers from out of state, were working through the holiday to restore power.

Richard Farmer, a dispatcher with the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department, said Thursday that officials have received few complaints about the outage. He said he had not heard of any shelters opening up because most people seem to be getting by on their own.

Many residents still have generators they bought when the power went out for more than a week during the 1998 ice storm, he said.

“A lot of people still have those things from 10 years ago,” Farmer said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

Brent Morey, Deer Isle’s fire chief, said Thursday that the 10 or so power company trucks he saw working in town Thursday were a more reassuring sight than what he saw Tuesday night. He said the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge was closed for about four hours, between 11 p.m. Tuesday and 3 a.m. Wednesday, because the high winds were making it shake.

“The bridge was moving a lot,” he said.

But the inconvenience of not being able to use the bridge, which is the only connection between Deer Isle-Stonington and the mainland, was relatively mild, he said.

“We might have turned away a dozen cars,” Morey said. “It wasn’t many at all.”

The fire chief said that, since the bridge reopened, most residents seemed to be getting through the outage with little disturbance. Little Deer Isle, where he lives, never lost power, he said, and the weather has been kind on local residents who did. It is pretty easy to make do when temperatures outside are in the 40-degree Fahrenheit range, he said.

The Fire Department has been prepared to help out people in need, according to Morey, but had not received any such requests.

“We’ve had no calls for any assistance,” Morey said.

Deer Isle resident Percy “Joe” Brown, who owns and operates a plumbing and heating business, said Thursday that people have been calling his shop asking for propane. Those residents who don’t have gas-powered appliances are used to power outages, he said, and many of them have generators. He said he lent his generator to his father, who lives on Goose Cove Road and who still didn’t have power on Thursday afternoon.

“Thank God it isn’t real cold,” Brown said. “Traditionally, we’ve had a lot of power problems down here.”

People who lived on the main roads appeared to have their power back on Thursday afternoon, he said. It was people who live on the side roads or who have long driveways who still were waiting for their electricity to come back, he said, and most of them seemed to be sitting it out.

“I haven’t seen a lot of traffic by here,” Brown said of his home on Route 15A.

http://bangordailynews.com/2008/11/27/news/islanders-take-loss-of-power-in-stride/ printed on September 19, 2014