WAYNE — By noon Saturday, a generator was still chugging away behind Mike Gorman’s home on Mount Pisgah Road, ensuring that the 30 ribeye steaks in his freezer would survive the largest power outage in Maine history.

Still, almost a week after his home lost power during the great wind last Monday, Gorman, 47, was getting tired of the outage and a little bored of the reading materials that were getting him through it: a short story collection and a Stephen King novel about an author who suffers delusions after the death of his wife.

“It sucks,” he said of the power outage, which may have been related to trees that were still visibly caught in the power lines along his road, near the Winthrop town line. “I’d like to know where all the CMP trucks have been. It seemed to me they were everywhere after the ice storm (of 1998).”

In fact, Central Maine Power Co. and Emera Maine have made considerable progress in restoring power to the almost 500,000 customers that were affected by the heavy wind and rain.

By Saturday evening, fewer than 28,000 CMP customers remained without power, including several large clusters of residents in central Maine towns such as Winthrop, Wayne, Mount Vernon, Litchfield, Windsor and Jefferson. Emera Maine, which serves customers in eastern and northern Maine, reported about 4,000 outages.

While CMP hoped to restore power to all customers by late Saturday, its executives warned that the last 10,000 might not be done until Sunday or later. They also said that more line workers would be on the road this weekend than there have been all week, as it’s taken time for reinforcements to arrive from Canada and states all the way down the East Coast.

“The team aspires to have 100 percent, but we also want to be realistic and honest and want the customers to know what we are thinking about this,” said Sara Burns, the utility’s president and CEO, in a conference call Saturday morning. “There is a great debate in this building today. The debate is around 10,000.”

While some Winthrop and Wayne families hoped the power would come back on Saturday, they said the mild fall weather made this week’s outages more tolerable than those of 1998.

Some of them also praised the job that utility workers and arborists from Maine and away have been doing to clear trees, repair poles and get the lights back on.

Kay Frost and her husband, G. Clarence Frost, who also live on Mount Pisgah Road in Wayne, bought a generator after the 1998 storm but didn’t have a chance to use it until this past week.

Their power was still out Saturday afternoon, but to save themselves from disappointment, they were not placing too much hope in the estimate that CMP would restore power by later in the evening.

“They’ve done a good job,” said Kay Frost, 74, referring to CMP.

Their 10-year-old nephew, Quade Black, was staying with them this weekend, and he was out roller blading Saturday. To pass the time, they’ve been cooking on the grill and playing checkers together.

“It’s been like camping,” Kay Frost said.

G. Clarence Frost, who is 80 and grew up in that part of Wayne, also marveled that the cedar tree he planted in his front lawn 40 years ago stood up to the powerful storm, which brought 70 mph wind, according to the National Weather Service.

Not all trees were so sturdy. Among the trees that fell in the storm was a 76-year-old pine near the home of Bruce and Melinda Edwards, on Narrows Pond Road in Winthrop. On Saturday, the Edwardses were cleaning up their lawn after some relatives helped them chop up and move the felled tree earlier in the day.

“It was quite a mess,” said Bruce Edwards, 55, who shuttling loads of twigs and needles in a wheelbarrow to the back of their yard. The Edwardses have a generator that helped them get through the storm’s aftermath, and their power was restored Friday.

Some of their neighbors were not so lucky. About half of the street’s homes were still in the dark by Saturday afternoon. Power was expected to return by 10 p.m., according to CMP’s estimates.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

 

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.