December 18, 2017
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Power companies push to meet goal of restoring electricity to all Mainers Saturday

By Jake Bleiberg, BDN Staff
Updated:
Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
The storm caused wide-spread damage to the power grid leaving hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.

More than 3,000 workers continued efforts to meet Central Maine Power’s goal of restoring power to all customers who lost it as a result of Monday’s windstorm, but the company warned that as many as 10,000 could still be without electricity going into Saturday night.

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, CMP reported that crews had reduced the number of customers without power from a high of 404,000 on Monday to roughly 36,000. Emera Maine, which services the northern part of the state, reported just more than 6,800 customers without power at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Kennebec Cumberland and Lincoln counties continued to suffer through the highest number of outages. More than 6,000 customers were still without power in each of those counties on Saturday morning, and a CMP official said they will be focusing resources there in what they hope will be a final push to restore electricity.

“We went out on the road today with the goal of 100 percent [of customers having power back] but we also want to be realistic and don’t want to mislead customers,” CMP president and CEO Sara Burns said during a Saturday morning conference call with reporters.

[Unusual ‘bomb cyclone’ blamed for widespread power outages]

In the five days since the storm hit, Burns said the company has restored power to more than 360,000 customers and replaced nearly 800 broken poles. CMP remains on target to restore power to the majority of customers by Saturday evening, but the lights may still be out in remote areas of the state and places that suffered particularly heavy storm damage, she warned.

“There are still places we cannot get to,” said Burns. “We have not been out to the islands. There is enormous damage in some towns.”

Central Maine Power will continue to update outage information on its website. Emera Maine tracks its storm recovery here.

The extensive damage is being attributed to a rare kind of storm described by meteorologists as a “bomb cyclone.”

Workers from 14 states and three Canadian provinces have come to Maine to assist in the recovery effort, according to a CMP official. On Saturday, the company had more than 3,300 people helping to restore power, including 1,400 line worker and 850 people clearing downed trees.

Even with this expanded crew, Burns said there has so far only been one accident involving service vehicles.

CMP does not yet have an estimate of what repairing the storm damage will have cost, but anticipates calculating one next week.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency on Friday encouraged Mainers to document damages from the storm and to report them by calling 211.

The information will be used to allow towns and cities to determine where storm-related damages occurred. Residents should also document the damage, the cost of damaged or spoiled items, and keep receipts for repairs in order to file insurance claims.

Those who cannot afford to fix damage can contact their community’s general assistance office.

Recipients of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) may be able to obtain vouchers to replace lost food by calling 855-797-4357. Farmers who experienced losses and need assistance can call the USDA Farm Service Agency at 207-990-9140. Businesses can report losses to their local economic development agency.

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest storm coverage.

 


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