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Business and Economy

CMP: 'Vast Majority' Of Customers To Have Power Restored Late Saturday

Nick Sambides Jr.
A crew from Sargent Electric Co. awaits an Emera Maine representative in 2019 at the intersection of routes 175 and 15 in Sargentville before beginning work repairing outages caused by the wind storm.

This story will be updated.

Thousands of Central Maine Power customers remained without electricity early Saturday afternoon, the day after an ice storm swept through the state.

The vast majority could have power restored by late Saturday night, according to a news release issued just before noon by the utility. At the height of the outages, more than 50,000 customers were without power. That number had dwindled to 8,267 by 1 p.m., with most of those still affected living on the coast from Islesboro south to Kittery.

Crews worked overnight on Friday to restore power, according to the press release. Fifty local contractor crews and roughly 35 additional contractor crews from CMP’s sister company UI, based in Orange, Connecticut, joined the regular crew members. Line workers contended with cold temperatures and ice-covered roads and lines.

“Our lineworkers are focused on safe system repairs and power restoration as conditions remain icy and cold,” said Matt Sadler, senior manager of CMP’s Energy Control Center. “We are working hard to get all customers restored as quickly as possible; safety for both customers and workers remains our primary concern.”

Restoration teams work with towns and the state to turn off the power to downed lines, clear roads and restore previously identified facilities such as hospitals and shelters. Power utility crews work to assess damage and repair the substations, transmission lines, circuits and primary lines that make up the backbone of the electrical system. After that, crews restore equipment and lines that serve smaller groups of customers and then focus on restoring service lines to individual homes and buildings.

Officials from CMP said people affected by a power outage should unplug sensitive electronic appliances, such as computers, TVs and stereos or keep them plugged into a surge protector. Customers should keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to protect perishable food, and never use a stove, oven, outdoor grill or outdoor heater as an indoor space heater to stay warm.

The power utility has been under fire in recent years, and last month the Maine Public Utilities Commission closed out two years of public hearings and complex internal examinations on a metering and billing case and a rate case. But on social media, some Mainers seemed to have patience with CMP’s response to the latest ice storm.

“Still waiting for power here but thank you and stay safe,” one woman wrote on CMP’s Facebook page.

This story appears through a media sharing agreement with Bangor Daily News.