2018-02-07 / Local

Officials slam CMP storm response

The Times Record


CREWS CLEAR a Topsham road following October’s windstorm in 2017. 
DARCIE MOORE / TIMES RECORD FILE PHOTO CREWS CLEAR a Topsham road following October’s windstorm in 2017. DARCIE MOORE / TIMES RECORD FILE PHOTO BRUNSWICK

The state’s energy utilities were reportedly taken to task Tuesday for their response to a late October windstorm that, according to one lawmaker, resulted in the most power outages in state history.

Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, the House chair of the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, issued a statement condemning Central Maine Power following an informal meeting at the statehouse.

“Today we heard from public works directors and from police chiefs; from lineworkers and from for-profit, monopoly utilities,” Berry stated. “One thing was crystal clear: CMP’s lack of preparation and coordination put customer lives at risk and will cost customers millions. CMP was warned repeatedly by their own workers that they were not ready — that the next big storm would cause far more and far longer outages than necessary — but they refused to listen. It’s a miracle no one died due to the blocked roads and barriers to key emergency services, for as many as 10 days in CMP territory.”

Maine Public reported that Harpswell’s Select Board Chairman praised his town’s response to the storm. However, Richard Daniel condemned delays by CMP in restoring power, and for not opening roads to allow for “for trucks to refuel generators and for appropriate fire and rescue apparatus to pass, creating secondary hazards to our residents and impeding their chances of a successful outcome should the worst have happened.”

The Portland Press Herald noted company’s response, quoting a CMP representative as stating that the utility was able to restore power to 450,000 customers within five days, a “remarkable” feat, while noting the company is looking at areas where it can improve.

Nearly 470,000 CMP customers were in the dark following the storm that caused $69 million in damage to the grid. CMP wants $13 million of that to be borne by ratepayers.

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