Q: How does CMP decide where to restore power first?

A: Crews are dispatched to restore power to places where it is critical to protect life and keep the community safe, such as hospitals, nursing homes, media outlets, police and fire stations. According to CMP’s website, one of the first priorities is repairing damage to electrical substations that serve as relay points as power travels to communities throughout the region.

Crews focus on primary feeder distribution lines that serve many neighborhoods before repairing and restoring power to branch lines that extend from those primary feeders. The company checks individual streets to find and repair single line breaks that affect entire neighborhoods.

Q: When can I expect my power to return?

A: CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice said the company does not expect to have estimated restoral times until Tuesday. The crews were working Monday to de-energize downed power lines first.

Those without power should check Central Maine Power’s website, cmpco.com, for outage updates, or go to the company’s Twitter or Facebook pages. Emera Maine’s website is at emeramaine.com, or check Emera’s Twitter feed.

Q: How many utility crews are working on restoring power?

A: Rice said the company has contracted for 105 two-man electrical crews to support several hundred CMP employees in preparation for the outages. Additional crews from New Brunswick have also been brought in, and more crews are headed to Maine from other states and Canada in the coming days.

Downed tree limbs weigh down a power line along Route 88 in Falmouth. Staff photo by Derek Davis

Q: The governor has declared a state of emergency. What does that mean?

A: A declaration of a state of emergency, like the one Gov. Paul LePage called Monday, allows power crews to work longer hours than normally allowed by law, to restore power more quickly.

Q: I bought a generator for back-up power. How do I use it safely?

A: You should ground all portable generators, and carefully read and follow all instructions. Never run a generator indoors, even in an open garage. Do not try to refuel a generator indoors or refuel a generator while it is running.

If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, get out of the building and call 911.

Q: What about other emergency heat or light sources?

A: Keep fuels away from flames generated by wood stoves, fireplaces or kerosene heaters. Make sure to ventilate the space properly. Never use grills or camp stoves indoors because of the potential for dangerous gases. Turn off or unplug major appliances so you don’t overload the circuits when power is restored.

Q: How do I keep the food in my refrigerator from spoiling and how long will it be safe to eat?

A: Keep fridges and freezers closed as much as possible Most food will last 24 hours if you don’t open the doors, but to be safe, discard any perishable food like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers that have been above 40 degrees for more than 2 hours. Never taste food to see if it is safe.

Source: Central Maine Power, U.S. Department of Agriculture