213,000 CMP customers were in the dark at the height of the outage

10:19 AM, Aug 29, 2011   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Power crews are out across Maine, working to get the lights back on in the wake of Tropical storm Irene.

Monday morning, Central Maine Power Co. said most of its 183,359 outages were in York, Cumberland and Kennebec Counties. Nearly 20,000 are without power in Androscoggin County and more than 17,000 in Oxford County. Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. says 29,635 customers are without service, 16,519 in Penobscot County, 10,902 in Hancock County,  and 2,077 in Piscataquis County.

The National Weather Service says rain for the most part ended in southern Maine in the afternoon, but strong winds with gusts up to 50 mph are expected through the night and into early Monday morning.

The weather service recorded a 49 mph wind in Portland by mid-afternoon. Meteorologists estimate that 8 to 9 inches of rain fell in northern Oxford County.

Those power outages have kept crews across the state very busy cleaning up the mess Irene is leaving behind as she fully exits Maine.

CMP says customers continue to report new outages Monday morning, although the utility expects those reports to drop off as high winds ease later in the day.

The utility says more than 275,000 of its customers were affected by the remnants of Hurricane Irene.

John Carroll, the spokesperson for Central Maine Power, says that they were ready for Irene to have a big impact on Central Maine.  Crews have even been called in from Canada to help with the clean up that's expected to take at least a few days.

"We had done everything we could to be ready," Carroll said. "We have a lot of extra crews coming in to start work with us tomorrow.  There's a certain amount we can and can't get done on a day like this.  Right now, our priority will be public safety.  If a line comes down, our crews have to get there, make sure it's de-energized and grounded, and then they'll move on to the next site."

Carroll stays it's best to stay clear of downed power lines. You can't tell a line has been de-energized by looking at it.  

The South Portland Fire Department is reporting that damaged lines won't be repaired until tomorrow.  This will leave the areas of Redbank, Brick Hill, Courtland Court, and Liberty Commons without power until Monday.  The community center on Nelson Road is open as a shelter for anyone who needs it there.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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