Derecho storm June 29

Tree debris lines the side of Falls Road in Roland Park July 11. Trees throughout the Baltimore area were felled as a result of a violent thunderstorm June 29 which caused hundreds of thousands of people in the area to lose power. (Staff photo by Elizabeth Eck / October 5, 2012)

Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. representatives said Thursday, Oct. 4 they are formulating a plan to address complaints of constant power outages on several streets in Roland Park, not just during the June 29 derecho storm, but long before and after it.

BGE officials told the Roland Park Civic League they are reviewing options ranging from enhanced tree trimming to replacing overhead lines with underground cable, and could have a plan in place as early as November.

"We estimate in four to six weeks we should be able to come up with a solution," said Stuart Page, an engineer in BGE's customer reliability and support group.

Most of the community's focus is on more than 50 homes on Beechdale, Edgevale and Elmwood roads that residents say often lose power even in nice weather and for no apparent reason.

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Kathleen Truelove, who lives on Elmwood, said she has endured four to six outages since this past spring, including eight days without electricity after the storm.

"All of a sudden, it's been horrible," said Truelove, former head of Roland Park Roads and Maintenance. "It's beyond frustrating."

Truelove was one of about 40 people who turned out for the long-planned meeting that was billed as an opportunity for BGE to present information concerning the reliability and maintenance of greater Roland Park's electrical infrastructure and to field questions from the community.

"It's for them to fix," she said.

But residents of Beechdale, Elmwood and Edgevale were not the only ones complaining at the meeting.

Charlie Palmer, of the 200 block of Club Road, said his power has gone out at least once a month for the past six years.

"Ours goes out just as much as Beechdale does. There's no reason for it," Palmer said.

There were also complaints from residents of Indian Lane and Merrymount Road.

Sally Foster, of Edgevale Road, said she is frustrated by the seeming randomness of the outages on her street.

"What's not so much fun is that across the street, it's lit up like a Christmas tree," Foster said.

Michael Garzon, supervisor of customer reliability for BGE, said even houses on the same street might be served by different lines as BGE tries to balance out the electrical system.

"We can't have everybody on the same line, otherwise it would overbalance the system," Garzon said.

Trees on lines are a big problem, BGE officials and residents agreed. One resident said she doesn't think trees near her lines have ever been pruned.

"There was definitely a lot of tree damage during the storm and that's one of the challenges facing us," Page said.

Linda Foy, manager of local affairs in BGE's governmental affairs department, said that she and City Councilwoman Sharon Greene Middleton will meet soon to talk about area tree trimming.

"A lot of the infrastructure that's been put in place has been hampered by trees," Garzon said. He and Page showed statistics that since 2009, 51 percent of outages in the greater Roland Park area have been caused by trees; 33 percent were due to wind and rain; 7 percent were lightning-related; and the rest were caused by equipment issues and "unknown causes."