Customers revel in simple pleasures as BGE makes final fixes

Lineman Shane McCarty of Pike Electric (Alma, Ga.) connects high voltage wires together.
Lineman Shane McCarty of Pike Electric (Alma, Ga.) connects high voltage wires together. (Ferron,Karl, Baltimore Sun)

For the nearly 100 residents of Dundalk Mobile Court who went without power for a week, the return of electricity couldn't come on soon enough — and everybody had a plan for what to do when it did.

Dolores Moakley, 70, a retired home health care nurse, couldn't wait to wash up in comfort.


"The first thing I'm going to do is take a warm shower. I'm tired of a week's worth of cold showers," she said, standing in the yard of the mobile home where she has lived for the past 12 years

The people at the trailer park were among the last people to have their power restored in the Baltimore area. A week after Hurricane Irene hit the state, knocking out about 750,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric customers, the utility was hoping to finish up storm-related repairs, making final fixes that affected only a few customers apiece.


The company had been hoping to finish up Saturday, but as the day ended there were about 4,100 reported outages. BGE expected to have about 2,000 remaining outages going into Sunday, said BGE spokesman Rob Gould.

The final repairs were taking longer than expected, he said, because workers are finding damage that is more extensive than was reported.

It was a line crew from Alma, Ga., working as Pike Electric who finally turned on the lights in Dundalk Mobile Court. The workers were among the 2,500 out-of town crews who had come to town to help with the recovery, according to BGE spokesman Linda Foy.

As they worked under muggy and cloudy skies in their distinctive yellow bucket trucks, with thunder rolling off in the distance, their efforts were being supervised by three workers from BGE.

In Dundalk, the storm's winds had toppled a huge evergreen on Vista Mobile Drive last Saturday evening, breaking a telephone pole, snapping three wires and plunging the tight-knit mobile home community into darkness.

The Pike Electric team set a new 40-class pole as two workers wearing rubber gloves and sleeves for safety protection in a bucket were busily attaching replacement wires.

Eyeing the sky was Justin Hunter, the BGE on-site supervisor, who has worked for the utility for a decade, and thought the four-hour job would have the power humming by 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

"The hardest part is getting the pole up safely because they can weigh from 1,500 to 2,500 pounds," he said. "We also work in the rain, no matter how bad it is, we keep working. But can't when there is bad lightning or winds above 25 mph."

Neighbors looked on and talked about what they'd been missing during their week in the dark. Joyce Sawyer, 64, a trailer park custodian, who has lived at the Dundalk Mobile Court since 2003, was looking to cool down,

"Turn on the air conditioner and then a cold beer, even though I'm going to have wait a couple of hours for it."

Sadie Wright, 59, an optical technician, is gladly over the jelly and crackers and other carry-out items she purchased at a nearby Dollar General Store.

"A real meal. But I've been dealing with it. I've been surviving," she said.


Sawyer said residents of the community had to dispose of roughly $5,000 worth of spoiled food.

"What can you do?" she asked.

Sawyer and her neighbors were jubilant when the crew from Georgia rolled into their neighborhood at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

"We appreciate what you're doing," yelled Sawyer. "We were happy to see them, and they're doing a nice job."

Hunter and his men turned on the juice at 1:25 p.m. — 35 minutes earlier than expected — said Foy.

Baltimore Sun reporter Steve Kilar contributed to this article.

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