BOOTHBAY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - That snowstorm we were battling last night turned to rain in many places. That was better for the roads, of course, and better for people worried about losing their power.
Central Maine Power says a total of four thousand customers lost power in the storm, and crews have been busy making repairs. Power outages seem to be reduced in a number of the big storms this winter, and CMP agrees.
The company says the reduction in outages its due in part to the more aggressive tree-trimming program they've adopted over the past several years. The Maine Public Utilities Commission told CMP in 2008 to change to a five year cycle for trimming its 24-thousand miles of electric lines. Company spokesman John Carroll says they're now in the fifth year of that cycle, and are seeing significantly fewer outages as a result. Carroll and other CMP workers say they've also been doing increased line maintenance and repair, but say the tree trimming has resulted in fewer outages and quicker repairs when outages do occur.
CMP Spokesman John Carroll says they've trimming about five thousand miles of power lines each year, at a cost of nearly $25-million per year. He says the company has also increased maintenance on those lines after they're trimmed. Carroll says there will always be bad storms and power outages, but says the more aggressive trimming and maintenance schedule has allowed the company to reduce outage rates by about five percent each of the last four years. He says CMP will begin discussions with the PUC later this year about a new rate review, and they hope to continue the five year cycle as part of a new rate agreement.