On the seventh day, there was light — for all but about 10,000 Maine electricity customers who lost power during a storm that ripped down trees and power lines last Monday.
Line and tree crews continued to work Sunday to restore power to those remaining customers, most of whom live either in remote areas or in neighborhoods that saw the most significant damage from the historic storm.
At 8:30 p.m. Sunday, roughly 5,900 Central Maine Power customers remained without electricity. Of those, about 3,100 were seasonal properties. At one time or another in the storm’s aftermath, more than 470,000 CMP customers lost power.
Lincoln County, with just fewer than 2,800 customers without power as of 8:30 p.m. Sunday, remained the hardest hit. Franklin, Hancock, Knox, Oxford and York counties had fewer than 50 outages each as of 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Emera Maine, which serves northern and central parts of the state, had restored power to all but about 245 customers by 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
“On Tuesday, we pledged to restore service for the vast majority of our customers by Saturday night,” Sara Burns, president and CEO of CMP, said in statement shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday. “Thanks to the round-the-clock efforts of our crews and all of those who have helped us, we have restored service to 97 percent of our customers. We will concentrate our line crews and tree crews in the remaining communities with outages until we bring the last customer back on line.”
The extensive damage is being attributed to a rare kind of storm described by meteorologists as a “ bomb cyclone.” Gov. Paul LePage declared a state of emergency, which temporarily lifted restrictions that would have prevented repair crews from working around the clock.
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 workers 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 the cost to repair the storm damage but anticipates calculating one later this week.
The Maine Emergency Management Agency on Friday encouraged Mainers to document damage from the storm and to report them by calling 211.
The information will be used to help towns and cities determine where storm-related damage occurred. Residents also should 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 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits 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.
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