Electricity outage leaves Newtowne 20 residents with partial power

and Contact Reporterdohl@capgaznews.com

A power outage has left Newtowne 20 residents with partial power for the last three days as high temperatures and humidity plague the region.

HACA was able to restore power via generators Thursday evening after a Baltimore Gas and Electric outage Monday caused spotty service throughout the week.

BGE, which services Anne Arundel County, sent workers Monday night to fix a power outage affecting the Newtowne 20 and Woodside Gardens complexes, said Eileen Neely, chief financial officer of the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis.

Crews worked through the night and restored complete power to Woodside and partial power to Newtowne. HACA followed up with the electric company Tuesday morning while also checking in on Newtowne residents, distributing extension cords and ensuring that people with medical equipment could get power.

Neely said all of Newtowne’s 78 units had at least partial power as of Tuesday. BGE restored power Tuesday evening, but blew a fuse in Newtowne’s infrastructure. Employees are working to locate the fuse and find a replacement part.

In a Facebook post Thursday morning, Annapolis Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson, D-Ward 4, called the ongoing power outages “unacceptable.”

She said she worked with the electric company on Wednesday to get electricity restored but that service was only intermittent. The city’s Public Works Department also attempted to use portable generators, but that plan also failed because they were not compatible with the community’s system.

In an interview, Finlayson said HACA had purchased and hooked up two generators Thursday.

In the meantime, the Salvation Army and the housing authority have provided residents with meals and the city has designated the Pip Moyer Recreation Center as a cooling zone, Finlayson said. The Newtowne community center is also open, air-conditioned and providing water.

HACA also took children attending summer camps to a pool to stay out of the heat. Temperatures reached into the high 80s Monday and persisted into the low 90s Tuesday and Wednesday.

Finlayson also said she is trying to determine how people who have lost things because of the outages are reimbursed.

Newtowne 20 resident Shalanda Sheppard called the outage “a terrible shame” in a Facebook message to The Capital.

“The residents of the Newtowne 20 community either have partial or no electricity and HACA isn't assuring them that their doing everything in their power to solve the issue,” she wrote.

The complex, one of HACA’s most blighted, is slated to undergo a complete renovation in the next year. Its electric system is antiquated, complicating the authority’s search for parts to fix the blown fuse.

“They’re trying to fix it quickly so they can put their resources into that development,” Finlayson said, “which I understand. … So, in the meantime, we tried to think of everything.”

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