Central Maine Power had restored electricity to nearly 370,000 homes and businesses as of Friday night, but says reconnecting the last 35,000 or so of its customers who lost power in Monday’s storm will be challenging as line and tree crews move into rural areas with more localized damage.

“We’re getting to the end of the road,” Sara Burns, president and CEO of CMP said Friday. “We’re getting to the most rural part of our system and we’re finding enormous damage.”

Central Maine Power and Emera Maine had a combined 47,211 customers without power as of 10 p.m. Friday, according to the companies’ websites. Crews have been working around the clock to restore electricity to areas where strong winds and rain downed trees and lines and knocked out power to 484,000 customers Monday morning, officials from the state’s two largest power companies said.

Maine officials are seeking a disaster declaration to secure federal money that could help home and business owners cover their expenses from storm damage. State emergency management officials are gathering data to show losses and damages of at least $1.9 million so the state can qualify for grants and loans from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

CMP’s website reported 33,296 customers were without power at the end of Friday, down from a peak of 405,000 customers Monday. There were 5,738 outages in Cumberland County and 987 in York County, the company’s website reported at 11:59 p.m.

Emera Maine’s website showed 7,168 customers without power just after midnight Saturday. On Monday, about 90,000 Emera customers were in the dark.

Officials from both companies expect that most customers will have power back by Saturday night.

Burns, from CMP, said the work to restore power gets harder the closer crews get to the end. Crews are often on rural roads and may need multiple bucket trucks to fix lines to restore power to a single customer, she said.

Burns said 1,725 line and tree workers were out making repairs Friday. The workforce includes 450 tree workers and another 100 were expected to arrive in Maine Friday. Out-of-state crews have come from as far away as Canada and Kentucky.

Crews working for CMP have so far replaced 600 of 1,000 broken poles. Each broken pole is replaced with a new wood pole that is stronger and stands up better against wind and outside pressure, company officials said.

Nearly all of CMP’s customers now have an estimated restoration time listed on the company’s website. Burns said some customers may not see an estimated time listed, but in most cases that means they are expected to have power back by Saturday night. The exceptions are on camp roads and in areas that are inaccessible to crews.

Burns said she understands it is hard to wait – especially when homes and businesses nearby have power again – but asked customers to continue to remain patient.

“If you feel you’re forgotten, call us,” Burns said. “We don’t believe you’re forgotten. … I certainly do not want someone to believe we don’t know about it.”

More than 90 shelters across the state are offering residents a variety of services including food in some places, charging for electronic devices, hot showers and a warm place to stay. A complete list along with services offered is available at the MEMA website. Residents can also call 211 for more information about shelters and warming centers.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy contributed to this report.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: grahamgillian

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