A line crew from White Mountain Cable Construction, a company based in Epsom, New Hampshire, works off Brighton Avenue near Woodford Street on Monday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

One thousand Central Maine Power customers were still waiting for service to be restored, four days after a powerful ice and snowstorm brought down trees, branches and power lines.

CMP said Sunday morning that it expected all customers would have service restored by Tuesday evening. And the utility said Tuesday afternoon it was still on track to bring the lights back on for all customers by that deadline. Over the course of 15 minutes around 5 p.m., the count of customers without power dropped by 700 people from 6,600 to 5,900.

But by noon on Wednesday, a thousand were still waiting for their power to turn back on – most in Cumberland County. The largest remaining outage is in Harpswell, where 278 customers are waiting for power to be restored.

“Can I guarantee? You know, maybe in one place we may encounter incidences, but they will be a singular issue. As far as the storm goes, we expect to be more or less done with restoration,” CMP spokesperson Jonathan Breed said.

The early spring storm started with snow and turned to freezing rain Saturday. It blanketed some parts of the state with over 20 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service. Greater Portland saw less snow, but was coated in a layer of ice.

Front yards were covered in downed power lines. Water burst through the roof of a library in Sanford, ruining books and closing the building because it was “uninhabitable,” according to a notice posted on the door by the code enforcement office.


In all, 203,809 CMP customers lost power, Breed said. An additional 15,487 Versant Power customers were without service Sunday morning. CMP began deploying around 150 line crews, 150 tree crews and another 200 crews from Vermont and Canada on Sunday morning to begin restoration efforts. CMP also responded to hundreds of emergency calls Sunday.

The count of customers without service has consistently dropped since then. On Sunday night, CMP had restored service to some 90,000 customers, and more than 103,000 were still in the dark Monday morning. By 7 a.m. Tuesday, nearly 17,000 remained without power. In all, CMP deployed a total 902 crews on Monday.

Source: Central Maine Power

Breed said Portland was hit particularly hard by the storm. On Monday, neighborhoods across the city were still in the dark. Traffic lights were out at major intersections and businesses struggled to manage the impacts. Monte’s Fine Foods in Portland had to throw out all of its perishable goods and shut down for three days, costing an estimated $100,000, according to owner Steve Quattrucci. At least some local supermarkets were also forced to throw out frozen foods and produce.

Portland also saw an uptick in vehicle crashes, according to Portland Police Department spokesperson Brad Nadeau. There were 50 crashes on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, compared with an average 15 crashes in the same three-day period in the previous two weeks.

With two cold nights on the books, various municipalities and organizations opened warming shelters – some overnight – with charging stations, showers and wifi for people to ride out the outages.

While many expressed concerns about the utility’s preparedness and response time, CMP maintains that it was ready for the storm, with crews staged for the cleanup.


“Our crews turned around and restored 200,000 people in 48 hours. That is a testament to the skill, to the plan we had in place, and to frankly our preparedness going into the storm,” Breed said. “We were prestaged in the right places. We had appropriate manning levels, staffing levels. If you look at the other states and the other utilities that were hit by the storm, I think their numbers and their pace of restoration compared to ours. CMP did a fantastic job.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Breed said, the remaining outages are on “circuits” delivering service to fewer customers. In Harpswell, where nearly 1,300 were still without power late Tuesday evening, Breed said crews were working to restore service to customers who live on peninsulas or single roads on circuits that deliver service to three or four customers.

“The last day always looks like it’s going slower, but we’ve got kind of staffing levels where they are to finish today,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Breed said 496 line crews and 92 pole digging crews were still deployed, most in the Brunswick area.

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