By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun
1:59 PM EDT, September 5, 2011
Baltimore Gas and Electric says it has restored service to all customers who lost power due to Hurricane Irene, except for a few individual outages.
"All Irene-related outages were restored by 11:30 p.m. last night," said BGE spokeswoman Linda Foy.
Although the BGE website showed nearly 900 customers were without power on Monday morning, Foy says those outages came in after the hurricane. BGE says there may be situations where the utility believes it has restored service but later finds another problem exists. The utility asks that customers report power outages by telephone.
On Sunday, with hundreds of households and businesses remaining without power because of Irene, BGE officials said they were working to restore electricity to all of those with storm-related outages by the end of the weekend.
"Late tonight, that's our target," BGE spokesman Rob Gould said on Sunday.
The number of customers whose outages extended into Sunday represented less than 1 percent of the total affected by the hurricane, according to BGE. Gould said that whether the company meets its target will depend on the scope and nature of the remaining outages.
"There may be customers who call in tomorrow to say that their power still needs to be restored, and we certainly want to hear from those customers," Gould said. "But based on the information we have to identify customers affected by Hurricane Irene, we believe we can meet our target."
Hundreds of additional outages in the area stemmed from a more recent storm, but the outages caused by Hurricane Irene will take priority, Gould said. He added that many of the remaining outages are around Patapsco State Park, where the storm inflicted extensive damage to the tree canopy. He said cranes have been required to remove the trees.
Still, some customers who had their power restored on Sunday after more than a week without it still wondered why the repair work took so long.
"I'm extremely frustrated," said Chuck Struhar of Sykesville, who added that his power was restored around noon on Sunday after going out the evening the hurricane hit the state.
"Eight days — can you even fathom that?" Struhart said. "Anyone can handle two or four. But eight days is a little bit tough. We live on a well line, and we need to have electricity to get the water to pump up. The sanitary part of it is unbelievable."
Gould said that BGE understands customers' impatience. He added that to some a degree the frustration reflects how much people depend on electricity. He also noted that the company has a "very aggressive tree-trimming program and despite our best efforts oftentimes we run up against significant opposition to trimming trees that could impact our distributions lines."
"Regardless, we are not offering excuses," Gould said. "We understand that our customers are very impatient especially at this point where their lives have been completely impacted for a week. We will not be content until every customer's power is restored."
Gould said that customers whose power was disrupted during the outages were not charged.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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