Hurricane Irene power outages leave thousands in the dark
Updated: September 2, 2011 - 09:51 am
Power outage numbers across the Washington region are dwindling, but still plague some customers.
As of 10 a.m. Friday, Pepco now reports just over 300 people in D.C., Montgomery County and Prince George's County
BG&E still has over 10,000 customers without power, with 8,800 of othem in Anne Arundel County. Dominion announced that all of their storm-related outages have been fixed.
SMECO reports 2,177 outages, but the locality they serve that was hardest hit, St. Mary's County, only reports 209 customers in the dark. The majority of those without power in SMECO's territory are in Calvert County.
In Burtonsville, Gary Magnum isn't worried about inconveniences so much as potentially losing millions of dollars. He runs Bell nursery and its 50 acres of plants, which he supplies to Home Depot stores in the Mid-Atlantic region.
“We have $10 million of plants growing for the marketplace and we are in a very, very risky situation,” Magnum said.
The storm blew part of a tree onto power lines leading to the farm. Three back-up generators have been running since Sunday to cool the greenhouses and water the plants. Two of them are about to break.
“The frustration is not being able to get someone from BG&E out here to look at it,” Magnum said.
BGE said 80 percent of the 750,000 customers who lost power in the storm’s wake have been restored. It's now shifting the focus of repairs to smaller units and individual customers after first fixing larger feeder lines, according to a news release. The company expects most of the outages to be fixed by Friday, with the remaining extending into Saturday.
On Tuesday, Dominion said it had restored power to all of its customers who were affected by outages following Hurricane Irene, but on Wednesday they, along with other utility companies, were reporting outages.
On Wednesday, Pepco crews worked to restore electricity in the some of the hardest hit areas, which include parts of Capitol Heights, East Riverdale, Anacostia, Northwest Washington and Chevy Chase.
Baltimore Gas and Electric brought in additional linemen and support staff from Chicago’s ComEd to help with the repairs.
The utility company is “confident that it will restore electric service to the vast majority of customers whose service is still out by Friday with some scattered outages possibly extending into Saturday,” it said in a news release.
“We are the forgotten step children of BG&E,” says Karen Schultz. She lives in Burtonsville with her daughter and is desperate for power.
“You can't shower with warm water...you can't...you walk into your room to the lights on and nothing happens,” Claire Schultz says.
They've been waiting and watching crews restore power to communities around them. They will be among the last to get their lights back on.
“I don't mind it so much but my wife hates it and that makes it stressful for me,” said Walter Berry.
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