CMP Crews Restoring Outages
Wet snow causes outages in Southern Maine, Mid-Coast
AUGUSTA, Maine — March 24, 2020 — Central Maine Power (CMP) has 75 Maine contractor crews and 45 out of state crews, including from sister company United Illuminating in Connecticut, joining its 85 employee crews to restore power outages today caused by wet, heavy snow. Approximately 52,000 customers were impacted overall, primarily in Cumberland, York, Lincoln and Sagadahoc Counties. By mid-day, the outages had been reduced to about 10,000.
The company works closely with county and local Emergency Management agencies to coordinate restoration efforts, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that medical and other critical facilities including telecommunications and internet services, and food distribution centers are operational.
“We understand that more customers are working from home and we are very focused on restoring power as quickly and safely as we can. We are making good progress at restoration; the weather has cleared, and with the support we have from contractors we anticipate we can have the vast majority of outages restored by this evening,” said Kevin Elwell, director of electric distribution for CMP.
CMP has incorporated appropriate social distancing practices for field employees who are considered essential workers in the pandemic including:
- Working in separate teams to minimize contact
- Restricting visitor access to company facilities
- Entering a customer residence only in the event of emergency and after assessing risk
- Maintaining appropriate social distancing in the field
- Allowing one employee per vehicle
CMP estimates that the vast majority of outages will be restored by the end of the day Tuesday.
Last week, in response to COVID-19, CMP announced that it is suspending late payment and customer reconnection charges for all customers and has received approval from the MPUC to extend protections to eligible customers participating in certain payment plans.
CMP advises customers to use online tools, accessible at www.cmpco.com to report and monitor outages and offers customers the following tips to stay safe and comfortable if power outages do occur.
Before a storm strikes:
- Enroll in the free CMP Alerts service, which provides the latest information about power outages by text message, email, or voice message.
- Keep battery-operated flashlights and radios on hand, along with supplies of drinking water and non-perishable foods.
- Make sure that smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices are fully charged.
- Fill your car’s fuel tank.
- CMP follows an orderly process when restoring service that emphasizes safety and seeks to make effective use of resources.
- CMP’s immediate concern after a storm is public safety. Restoration teams work with towns and the state to de-energize downed lines, clear roads and restore previously identified critical facilities such as hospitals and shelters.
- Next, CMP focuses on assessing damage and repairing the backbone of the electrical system: substations, transmission lines, circuits and primary lines. Crews focus on locations where they can restore large numbers of customers at once.
- Then, crews restore equipment and lines that serve smaller groups of customers.
- Finally, crews focus on restoring remaining service lines to individual homes and buildings until every customer has service. This phase may begin while higher-priority work is already underway.
If you lose service:
- To report an outage, visit Outage Central at cmpco.com. Customers may also report an outage using CMP’s 24/7 automated phone system at 800.696.1000.
- Keep sensitive electronic appliances such as computers, TVs and stereos plugged into a surge protector, or unplug them. They could be damaged if a power surge occurs when electricity is restored.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. For information about food safety, visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/refridg_food.html.
- Never use a stove or oven, or an outdoor grill or heater, as an indoor space heater to stay warm. Only use space heaters intended for indoor use inside or in enclosed spaces, following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are unable to keep your home safely heated, call Maine 211 for resources.
For customers with generators:
- Hire a licensed electrician to install permanent generators and transfer switches.
- Properly ground all portable generators.
- Carefully read and observe all instructions in your generator’s operating manual.
- Never run a generator indoors, or even in an open garage.
- If your carbon monoxide detector goes off – get out of the building immediately and call 911.
- Do not store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it’s running.
- Refer to CMP’s web page on generator safety.
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About CMP: Central Maine Power Company (CMP), a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., is Maine’s largest electricity transmission and distribution utility. Established in 1899 and based in Augusta, Maine, CMP serves approximately 624,000 customers across 346 communities in central and southern Maine. It operates approximately 23,500 miles of distribution lines and 2,900 miles of transmission lines. Over the last decade, the company has invested approximately $2.6 billion in Maine system infrastructure. In 2019, CMP was named Large Business of the Year by the Kennebec Valley United Way. For more information, visit www.cmpco.com.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with approximately $34 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states. With headquarters in Orange, Connecticut, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,600 people. AVANGRID supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2019 and 2020 by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.
- Catharine Hartnett
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