Marks says BGE will meet to address Towson-area storm response

After many Towson neighborhoods endured an extended period without power following a severe storm, 5th District Councilman David Marks said on July 9 that his office and BGE had agreed to host a community meeting to address concerns specific to the area.

"We do need to have a discussion about why certain neighborhoods, like Stoneleigh and Towson Estates, were so late in getting power restored," Marks said. "I've already had emails from neighbors in that community."

The location and date of the meeting has not yet been determined, Marks said.

When asked what she would say if she attended such a meeting, Polly McGlone, of Stoneleigh, didn't need much time to respond.

"Put 'em underground," she said. "It's primitive how they are here."

McGlone said that she and a group of 10 or so neighbors were without power until Saturday, July 7, in the aftermath of the June 29 storm.

BGE had initially restored electricity to their houses Thursday, but a blown transformer left crews scrambling to fix the problem in the heavily wooded area behind their houses.

"We have outages six times a year," said Kieren Marr, one of McGlone's neighbors. "This was the second outage that was longer than a week in less than 10 months."

McGlone said one neighbor had already mentioned getting a group together to speak to BGE and air their grievances and suggested that the meeting could be the right venue.

Behind their homes, McGlone said there is no access for BGE to get to the transformer, creating a complicated situation for crews who are frequently under pressure to finish jobs quickly, fixing wires but no addressing the cause of the outages.

Though the violent storm on June 29 was brief, its effects were still being felt across Towson last week.

In Stoneleigh, where power lines weave through tall trees behind houses, power was restored in some sections on Thursday, July 5, but many residents waited until Friday or Saturday.

Outages extended late into the week in other parts of Towson as well.

Parts of Anneslie, Hillendale and Idlewylde were also restored Thursday, while crews arrived Friday morning in Campus Hills, where four dozen homes were without power for nearly a week.

Power was also out in Glendale-Glenmont until Friday night.

By the time they declared the restoration effort complete on Sunday afternoon, BGE officials said the utility had seen some 748,000 outages since the June 29 storm. Officials called it, "one of the most damaging storms in the company's nearly 200-year history."

Officials said in a statement that by the time the final outage was restored, BGE had fielded more than 1.3 million calls and more than 5,000 emails from customers about outages, and about 8,900 reports of downed wires.

Some 1,900 out-of state utility workers from 18 states and Canada aided in the response.

While facing scrutiny for its response to Hurricane Irene in August 2011, BGE officials said their policy is to repair the damaged equipment that serves the most people first, then work their way to the smaller issues that may only serve a handful of homes.

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