After being concentrated mostly in Hancock and Washington Counties yesterday, power outages have begun to crop up today in the Bangor area as well.
Bangor Hydro says all customers in their coverage area may not be fully restored until Friday.
At last check, Bangor Hydro reports about 31,000 outages across Eastern Maine. Central Maine Power says 54,000 customers have no power.
“It is reminiscent of the Ice Storm of 98, which I know we hate to even talk about,” said Bob Potts, Communication Specialist at Bangor Hydro.
It’s official. Eastern Maine is in Day 3 of what has become a major ice storm.
“After the weekend, with so many outages along coastal Maine in Hancock and Washington County, we were seeing some improvement overnight,” said Potts.
That didn’t last long.
“The icing conditions have moved further inland, so we have seen a big spike in outages all the way up through Bangor, Old Town and areas north,” said Potts.
From Bangor to Bar Harbor Monday, crews have been criss-crossing Eastern Maine, trying to keep up with outages.
“Just the travel conditions alone and getting our crews out to the various areas have their own challenges, and then you get them out in these icy bucket trucks and it’s dangerous work,” said Potts.
Power crews we spoke to say the deterioration of weather conditions over the course of the day has slowed restoration.
“They’re going pretty good, but with the weather getting worse, it just keeps more outages coming,” said a crew member with Bangor Hydro was working in Ellsworth Monday.
A State of Emergency was declared in Hancock County Monday, with officials telling drivers to stay off the roads.
“We highly encourage folks to stay put if they can. If they don’t have to venture out, we ask that they refrain from that until they have safer conditions,” said Andy Sankey with Hancock County Emergency Management.
Hancock Emergency Management says if the power situation continues to get worse, people will have options.
“If we have protracted outages and the restorations aren’t keeping pace with the outages, we will take the steps necessary to make sure that folks and their pets are provided for. We’ll typically start with warming stations where people can go,” said Sankey.
At Bangor Hydro, it’s all hands on deck, as outages spiked at around 40 thousand Monday afternoon.
“We’re calling in people from holiday vacation, we’re pulling in crews from our sister utility in Aroostook County. We’re pulling in employees from other parts of the company to help staff the customer service center to deal with customer calls,” said Potts.
Crews say, as always, stay away from power lines.