Just over a day after it finished a massive effort to restore power knocked out by Hurricane Irene, BGE said it had returned electricity to more than 23,000 customers affected by Tuesday's heavy rains.

Outages began Tuesday morning, the utility said, adding that it expected new outages to continue until the heavy rains leave Central Maryland. About 2,600 customers remained without power at 5 p.m. Tuesday, BGE said.

Baltimore Gas & Electric warned that trees weakened by Irene could fall on power lines and other equipment even after the rains end.

Irene caused 750,000 BGE customers to lose power, according to the utility, which came under fire from ratepayers and public officials over its preparedness and response. BGE said it had restored power to all customers affected by Irene by late Sunday evening, a week after the hurricane passed through Maryland.

Hanah.cho@baltsun.com

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