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Very early Halloween morning, things got a little scary for many in New Windsor. Their power went out. Well over 1,000 New Windsor residents were without electricity for varying lengths of time, the outage beginning around 2:30 a.m., and lasting until about noon for many.

A spokesman for power supplier Potomac Edison said an insulator failed, causing a utility pole near the corner of Coe Drive and New Windsor Road to catch fire. The top of the pole burned off, in turn locking out the entire circuit and cutting power for about 1,300 customers.

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These things happen. Except, they seem to happen a lot more frequently in New Windsor than anywhere else in Carroll County. And residents who are quite often out of power — and don’t exactly have a lot of choices in the utilities area — are understandably out of patience.

About two dozen citizens attended the New Windsor Town Council meeting earlier this month to air their concerns and frustrations about the power outages they say they’ve been experiencing regularly. Councilman Ed Smith noted: “My electricity has gone off pretty much every single day for those 10 years.”

David Kline, representing Potomac Edison, told the assembled crowd, “We are aware that there is a problem here. We understand that, and we’re trying to work on it.” At the time, the company wasn’t sure what was causing the outages, theorizing it could be one of four potential issues: faulty equipment, weather, animals and accidents. The verdict is in, according to New Windsor Mayor Neal Roop, who earlier this week relayed a message from Kline via Facebook, noting that outages were occurring despite weather conditions being clear and warm, with little wind.

“It is apparent that we have an animal problem," Kline reported. “As a result, we are going to put animal guards on every transformer on the circuit in every place that contact could cause a momentary interruption.” Essentially, they will be putting a cover over transformers to keep squirrels and birds and other pesky creatures from biting, clawing or pecking the equipment — and cutting off power to parts of the town. “It will take some time to get all these installed,” his post continued.

When the possibility of animal damage was brought up at the Nov. 6 town council meeting, it was met with some skepticism, with one attendee noting that power frequently goes out in the morning, and it “can’t be the same squirrel” running across the power line every day.

It’s not all about the animals, however. According to a statement from Kline, some outages last weekend were caused by an underground conductor failure. “This highlights the multiple sources of problems and illustrates why we are taking a multi-pronged approach to address them,” the post continued. Potomac Edison also plans to replace the substation recloser with a new one, which “will interrupt fewer customers in the event of a momentary fault,” according to Roop’s Facebook post.

Kline said the goal is to have them all installed by the end of the year. Certainly, New Windsor is fairly spread out and there’s a lot of older infrastructure to work on, but it doesn’t seem like it should take that long.

Power outages are merely a minor inconvenience for most — albeit a recurring one — but they could turn into a dangerous situation for vulnerable residents. We urge Potomac Edison to get this situation fixed sooner rather than later. Folks in New Windsor have waited long enough.

To report power-related issues in New Windsor, email Kline at dkline@firstenergycorp.com, noting the date, time, address and weather conditions (ice, snow, wind, calm, etc.).

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