ROCKLAND, Maine — Now that power has been restored to all Central Maine Power customers in Knox and Waldo counties, town officials are being asked to begin assessing damage from Thursday’s ice storm to see if any communities might qualify for federal aid.
Crews worked around the clock for three nights until power was restored to everyone, Gail Rice, CMP spokesperson, said Monday.
Also, Knox County Emergency Management Agency Director Ray Sisk said Monday he would begin the assessment as the first step toward possible reimbursement of “extraordinary expenses” incurred by municipalities associated with the ice storm.
“Most of them will be reporting damage for emergency protection services,” Sisk said of such services as extra police and fire protection, or extra use of sand and salt, because of the storm.
“Whether we report anything to the Federal Emergency Management Agency will depend on how much the towns report — if we get enough damage to set us over the threshold,” he said.
On Monday afternoon, the first day of assessment, Sisk reported about $17,000 in damage for emergency replacement equipment in Rockport and Cushing.
“I’ve given the local directors until Wednesday to get the information to me,” he said.
“The biggest part of our expense is dealing with debris removal and keeping the roads passable,” he added.
He praised Central Maine Power Co. crews for their “phenomenal work” in the latest storm and in the one before Thanksgiving.
“Those guys have been the soldiers in the field for a lot of this stuff,” he said.
Sisk pointed out, for historical perspective, that the ice accumulation on the trees and wires in the 1998 ice storm was about three-fourths of an inch.
“I know there were places in our county this time where we had much more than that, but we had much less damage from this particular storm, so that speaks highly toward the utility’s efforts to keep trees trimmed properly,” Sisk said.
Waldo County EMA Director Dale Rowley said there was very little damage in his area except for flooding in Liberty.
“It was a unique storm,” Rowley said. “This storm didn’t break anything.
“We’ve got 14,000 homes — very few businesses — in Waldo County,” Rowley said, adding that his area also had very few icy roads.
“We were on the edge,” he said.
CMP said Monday it expected to restore power to the final areas in Cumberland, Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties by early Wednesday. The company said it would be shifting the bulk of its resources to York County over the course of the day Monday and Tuesday.
President Bush on Monday issued an emergency declaration to release federal help to Maine, covering York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.