This story has been updated.
HOULTON, Maine — A disruption in the electrical transmission system from New Brunswick to Presque Isle caused a massive power outage Thursday to northern Maine towns from Patten to Caribou.
Versant Power, which provides electricity to much of northern Maine, said that more than 20,000 customers were affected by the outage, which began at around 12:30 p.m. At approximately 2:10 p.m., power returned to Presque Isle and other central areas.
The Houlton area was under a longer siege, with about 2,800 customers affected by a separate issue that was resolved by 5:55 p.m.
“Versant Power crews have identified and corrected the issue at a substation serving southern Aroostook County customers, restoring service to all,” said Versant spokesperson Judy Long Thursday evening.
Long said the origin of the northern outage could be traced from a transmission line coming from New Brunswick into Presque Isle. She said Versant used an alternate line to service customers.
In Presque Isle, Spectrum Services also announced a service outage.
Traffic across Main Street in Presque Isle was fairly heavy during the outage, most likely due to people leaving work early.
Presque Isle City Hall closed all of its essential services at 2 p.m. The Fort Fairfield town office, Easton School Department, Ashland District School and Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle also closed early.
Greg Sherman, the general manager of Houlton Water Company, said the outage was on Versant’s end. While Houlton gets its power from neighboring New Brunswick, it had been using a Versant backup line while working on restoring a line from a previous outage which occurred earlier last week.
Staff writers David Marino Jr. and Paula Brewer contributed to this report.