MADISON — A lightning strike Thursday afternoon at a Madison Electric Works transformer knocked out power for all 3,000 MEW customers for about eight hours.

“Lightning hit our big substation transformer on Jones Street,” MEW Superintendent Calvin Ames said by phone Friday morning. “It went out about 2 minutes after 3 yesterday afternoon, and we got all that back on by 11:30 last night, except for a small section of Norridgewock, which had a tree that knocked down a pole. That didn’t get fixed until about 5 a.m.”

All of downtown Madison and most of downtown Anson were darkened, as were many rural sections of Starks and Norridgewock. Ames said the outage was the longest MEW has experienced in his 20 years with the company.

“Our customers are pretty spoiled,” he said.

Madison Electric Works is a department of the Town of Madison.

Contributers on Central Maine Facebook Fire Alert, where the outage was first reported, joked about “living like savages … having to talk to each other.”

One person joked that the house was so quiet he could hear the dog snoring downstairs.

“All of our customers were out,” Ames said, noting he and members of his support team had been up all night making sure that power was restored to everyone in the MEW service area.

MEW also serves Backyard Farms, the tomato grower on River Road, and the Madison Business Gateway Industrial Park. Ames said Backyard Farms runs off a different substation and never lost power Thursday.

“They were the one customer that never lost power,” he said.

The industrial park, which houses the state’s largest solar farm, did lose power, but by then it was cloudy and rainy, Ames said, so the outage did not cause any loss of production.

“It came back on this morning when the sun came up,” he said.

MEW on its web site tells customers to be prepared for a power outage by keeping necessary items centrally located in the home. The following is a list of items that are suggested to keep on hand:

• Flashlights

• Battery-operated radio and clock

• Extra batteries

• Containers of bottled water

• Canned, freeze-dried or dehydrated food, powdered milk, baby supplies for infants

• Non-electric can opener

• List of important phone numbers

• First-aid kit

• Glow sticks, which are great for the kids and don’t require batteries

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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