Jan. 20, 1998: Central Maine Power Co. submits to federal officials a report estimating that the cost of restoring electrical power to about 632,000 Maine residents who lost it in a regionwide ice storm would reach $55 million.

The amount is more than double the $25 million figure the company cited on Jan. 12, five days after the storm’s peak.

Combined with the $27 million that state and local governments spent on cleanup and a $5 million estimate from Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. for repairs in its service area, the new CMP estimate raises the statewide cost of contending with ice storm damage to about $87 million so far. A new, increased estimate from Bangor Hydro is expected within days.

Westbrook homeowners plead for help on Jan. 20, 1998. They were among thousands of customers still without power nearly two weeks after the ice storm struck. Press Herald file photo

At the time of the report, nearly two weeks after the storm’s peak, more than 14,000 Maine households remain without electrical power in the middle of winter.

The storm, which led to at least four deaths, would ultimately cost the state $320 million.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: jowen@mainetoday.com.

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