PARSONSFIELD — There’s a running joke about power outages in Bethany Dastoli’s neighborhood.

“The first person who gets the lights on gets to do the dance,” Dastoli said Tuesday.

This time, it was her turn.

About 9 p.m. Sunday, near the end of Tropical Storm Irene, she flicked every switch in her house next to the East Parsonsfield post office and danced in front of the windows for her neighbors to see.

Since then, she has had a steady stream of visitors using her coffee pot, her showers and her washing machine. Dastoli even plugged in a pina colada maker for an impromptu party Monday night. “That’s just what neighbors do,” she said.

Residents of rural towns in northwestern York County are used to going for days without electricity. They know they’re often at the bottom of Central Maine Power Co.’s list when it comes to restoring service after a major storm like the one Sunday.

“There’s a lot of miles of wire out there and not a lot of people,” said Louis Langlois, a CMP line worker who keeps his bucket truck at his house in Limerick so he can respond quickly to emergencies in the area.

By 5 p.m. Monday, CMP had restored service to more than half of the 280,000 customers who lost electricity because of the storm. In Parsonsfield, more than 75 percent of customers were still without power as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to CMP’s website.

“We’re hoping late Thursday,” Langlois said of fixing the last of the lines that were damaged in the storm.

Cheryl Durfee isn’t banking on it.

“CMP tells everybody, no matter where they live: Thursday,” Durfee said Tuesday afternoon between ringing up customers at the K&D Corner Store in West Newfield. “I think they’re just telling everybody that so we don’t go crazy.”

Power was restored to the store on Monday, but on Tuesday, Durfee still didn’t have it at her home nearby. Neither did her co-worker, Nicole Partridge, who lives in the Lake Arrowhead neighborhood of Waterboro.

On Monday night, Partridge was in a line of parents who waited at the Lake Arrowhead clubhouse so their children could use the showers. Tuesday was the first day of school.

“We had a nice sign-up list going,” she said.

Although students in the Waterboro-based Massabesic school district began classes on schedule, neighboring School Administrative District 55, based in Hiram, delayed its start date by two days because roads were still blocked by downed wires and trees, and homes in the district were still without electricity.

Elementary school students, as well as fifth- and ninth-graders in SAD 55, are now scheduled to start school Thursday. The rest will return Sept. 6.

That means a couple extra days of summer vacation for Kyle Sanborn, a soon-to-be seventh-grader at Sacopee Valley Middle School. The 12-year-old rode his bike around his yard Tuesday afternoon while a generator hummed loudly outside his home.

“Everybody on this road has a generator,” said Kyle’s father, Richard Sanborn, sitting on the front stoop of his house on Maplecrest Road, directly across the street from the Dastolis’ home in Parsonsfield.

Sanborn said he has used the generator three times since he bought it after the ice storm of 1998, which left many homes in the area without power for more than a week. Paying $1,200 for the generator and $20 daily to fill it with gas is well worth the cost, Sanborn said.

“We have everything we need,” he said.

 

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: [email protected]