Central Maine Power Co. expected to restore electricity to all but about 2,000 year-round customers by late Monday night, a spokesman said.

About 6,100 CMP customers were still without power Monday afternoon, a week after a strong wind and rain storm hit the state, according to spokeswoman Gail Rice.

The storm, which rolled through Maine last Sunday night and Monday morning, knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

Cumberland, Kennebec and Lincoln counties had the highest number of remaining outages Monday, but the numbers were declining. Rice said the number of outages has fluctuated because some were caused by factors unrelated to the storm, such as cars striking utility poles and animals making contact with power lines. In a few cases, she said, crews have had to cut power to customers who had it restored in order to make repairs, but those outages are usually brief.

Gov. Paul LePage extended the emergency proclamation that allows drivers of utility vehicles to operate additional hours, saying it would “allow crews to continue to work around the clock.” The extension expires at midnight Thursday.

OUTAGES COULD AFFECT ELECTION DAY

A spokeswoman for the Maine Secretary of State’s Office said the elections division was working with the state Public Utilities Commission and power companies to see if power would be available at polling places for Tuesday’s elections.

According to Kristen Muszynski, a handful of municipalities were still without power Monday. Harpswell had power at two polling places and none at another, so the state approved moving that one to the Harpswell town office. Sebago and Somerville were without power but have generators. Officials in Eastbrook and Dresden had not responded to phone calls from the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday.

Muszynski said municipalities whose town halls have no power could still log into the central voter registration system and print out voter lists, or the Secretary of State’s Office would deliver them Monday.

PATIENCE WEARING THIN

Rice said unoccupied seasonal homes will be the last to have power restored. She could not estimate when that would be.

Emera Maine, which supplies power to northern Maine, reported 90,000 outages at its peak, and 372 customers were still without power Monday.

In some of the last remaining towns with large numbers of outages, such as Freeport and Brunswick, residents said their patience is wearing thin.

CMP reported 263 Freeport customers without power at 1:30 p.m. Monday, while 164 Brunswick customers had no electricity. There were 1,437 residents of Harpswell without power early Monday afternoon.

CMP officials originally said they hoped to restore power to those customers over the weekend. Spokesman John Carroll said at about 9 p.m. Monday that an estimated 2,000 year-round customers would still be without power Monday night, but the company hoped to restore service to them by Tuesday night.

Theresa Goucher faced her eighth day without electricity Monday at her home on Annabessacook Road in Winthrop, when she finally found a way to stay warm in the morning, thanks to a clever friend and his battery-powered leaf blower.

Goucher has a gas fireplace in her mobile home, which still worked after the power went out. But without electricity to power the fireplace’s fan, her house would not warm up.

“The heat just stayed right there in front of the fireplace,” she said, noting it got below 50 degrees inside her home several times during the power outage.

That was until a friend offered his battery-powered leaf blower, and suggested she try blowing the hot air from the fireplace to the rest of her residence.

It worked. Monday morning, she tried it out and her home quickly warmed from around 50 to about 72 degrees.

Another Annabessacook Road resident, Jessica Bowers, said she got power back around 3 p.m. Monday, after eight days with no electricity or generator.

“I think I’m going to buy one now,” Bowers said.

She and a neighbor, Amy Aubut, waved at utility workers after they had restored power.

“I think I cried a little bit,” Bowers said. “When (the utility workers) went by I was blowing them kisses, we were really happy. … I’m showering my kids for the first time in I don’t know how many days.”

Goucher said the hardest part was trying to keep warm, and getting coffee.

She said she called CMP every day. She said she was initially told she’d have power back by Saturday. After that came and went, she was told she’d have it back by the end of Monday.

She said not having power for so long had been awful, but “we’re still trying to have a sense of humor about it.”

As Goucher chatted in her driveway, an orange CMP pickup truck, a yellow flashing light on its roof, pulled into a driveway a short distance up Annabessacook Road.

“We get so excited when we see a truck,” Goucher said, laughing. “That’s got to be a good sign, right?”

CMP outages peaked Monday with more than 405,000 customers without power.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy and Kennebec Journal writer Keith Edwards contributed to this report.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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