Garzon suggested that squirrels eating through insulation could be a factor, but a chorus of "No" went up from the audience.

Garzon and Page said BGE took steps even before the storm to upgrade infrastructure in the area, including in Hadley Square and on Chancery and Suffolk roads in Guilford, and on Kenmore Road and Melrose Avenue in Roland Park. They said BGE is also rebuilding its aging Mount Washington substation, one of two that serve the area. The other is on West Cold Spring Road at Interstate 83.

Complaints of lack of communication

But City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said even with improvements, houses on Chancery and Suffolk were among the last in her district to get their electricity restored after the storm.

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The Baltimore City Council's Housing and Community Development Committee, of which Clarke is a member, held a hearing Sept. 19 that served as postmortem on responses to the storm by BGE and the Baltimore City Mayor's Office of Emergency Management.

Clarke, who called for the hearing, expressed displeasure at a BGE chart showing that Baltimore City lagged behind the rest of BGE's service area for several days in the percentage of residents that got their power restored.

Most of the complaints at the hearing focused on the lack of a reliable priority list for BGE and a lack of communication between BGE and communities, especially in Roland Park, Hampden and other communities hardest hit by the storm.

City Arborist Erik Dihle said at the hearing that he would like to have better communication with BGE.

Garzon told the Roland Park audience that BGE is "solely dependent" on its customers to report outages. Foy said the utility company, which serves 1.2 million customers, is working on a new web-based power outage reporting system.

Phil Spevak, president of the Roland Park Civic League, urged BGE to resolve issues as soon as possible because residents considered the meeting Thursday as "an intermediate step to a solution."