"We were expecting a lot more water," he added. "That was everybody's concern."

Another worry is what Sandy might do to their own town. As they worked on Baltimore outages Tuesday morning, high winds were whipping through Chicago.

"I don't think anybody was expecting that to happen," Johnson said.

Said Lin Taibl, a ComEd safety officer: "We already have crews moving into our territory, knowing we're out here."

Along with the outages came calls from politicians for Maryland's electric utilities to improve their infrastructure.

State senators Jim Rosapepe and Brian Frosh released a statement Monday evening saying that the storm exemplifies why the utilities need to "acknowledge climate change and modernize the electric infrastructure."

"It's past time for BGE and PEPCO to move into the 21st Century -- by making scientifically-based business decisions and investing in burying power lines and other modernizations of our electric power infrastructure to withstand extreme weather caused by climate change," Rosapepe said in the statement.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jsmithhopkins

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

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