A unique mix of two back-to-back storms, each bringing more than a foot of heavy, wet snow, prior to frost setting in, caused widespread damage to the electrical system in northern Maine.

Emera Maine

Emera Maine is urging customers to use extreme caution around electrical lines brought down by trees, limbs and heavy snow.

“I’ve never seen a storm like this in my lifetime,” said Cary Daigle, Line Supervisor in Fort Kent. “We would repair damage to a piece of equipment, only to see it break again due to the quick accumulation of snow, with no wind to help knock snow off lines and trees.”

Field crews are also seeing evidence of people attempting to move trees and tree limbs leaning against electrical wires, driving over energized lines, and even handling downed wires. Removing trees and limbs from electrical wires and handling lines should only be attempted by utility workers, trained and equipped to safely handle electrical lines.

 “We are hearing reports and seeing evidence of some very dangerous activities,” says Stan Hartin, Manager of Safety for Emera Maine. “If someone happens upon a wire on the ground or a wire hanging low, always assume it is a live wire and stay clear. There is no way to tell just from looking at a line if it is energized or not.”

“We know people want to clean up from the storm, however if you find a tree resting on a line or a downed line please call us. Keeping customers safe is our top priority,” said Hartin. “No life is worth the risk.”

Customers wishing to assist with restoration efforts are encouraged to make sure driveways and side roads are well plowed and sanded, allowing utility trucks and workers access to make repairs. Please do not attempt to plow if there are low-hanging or downed wires in the way.

Since the height of the storm on Dec. 1, nearly Emera 3500 customers have been restored, and the last outages should be resolved by end of day Saturday. It’s been slow going, as many repairs may only restore a handful of customers at a time. As snow continues to remain heavy on limbs, Emera is still receiving some outage reports, but crews are making steady progress.

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