Headway made on telephone system repairs

Posted May 18, 2009, at 10:45 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Though a great deal of progress has been made on restoring telephone system problems at Penobscot County’s administrative offices, a few glitches remained Monday evening.

The high winds that swept through Maine last Thursday caused power surges that damaged the telephone system that handles calls made to the county’s business lines, Bill Collins, Penobscot County administrator, said early Monday evening.

“While I was there, there were at least four different shocks [to the phone system],” he said, adding that the power spikes continued into Thursday night, after the county’s offices closed for the day.

The county’s 911 emergency lines operate on a different system and weren’t affected, he said.

As of late Monday afternoon, the county phone system that handles calls for such administrative functions as the county administrator, treasurer, district attorney’s office and jail was back on line, he said.

What isn’t yet working is the system’s capacity to handle after-hours calls, namely those placed directly to the county’s main phone number, Collins said.

Under normal circumstances, callers can choose among a series of options that enable them to leave messages with various county offices, access the jail or, if they remain on the lines, speak to an emergency dispatcher at the Penobscot County Regional Communications Center.

To that end, Penobscot RCC Executive Director Jim Ryan issued a news release Monday advising anyone in Penobscot County with an emergency to dial 911, until the phone system problems are fully resolved.

Collins said the problem with the telephone lines is among the topics that the county commissioners will take up today during their regularly scheduled meeting at the Penobscot County Courthouse.

He also said he was in the process of gathering the information needed to file a claim with the county’s insurance provider.

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