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BGE to discuss outages with residents; Bartlett sponsors meeting in wake of 3 blackouts

THE BALTIMORE SUN

After three power outages in downtown Westminster in less than three weeks, residents and business owners are looking for some answers. They may get them Monday at a meeting with Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. officials that will be sponsored by Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett.

About 1,200 BGE customers were left without power for two hours Tuesday morning after a fencing contractor hit a wire while digging near a substation. The area was left in the dark Feb. 19 thanks to a faulty cable, and on Feb. 4 after a metal sign in a BGE substation fell on a wire.

"Having power is one of those basic things we just count on until it's not there," Bartlett, the 6th District Republican, said. "The goal of this meeting is to provide an opportunity for all of the affected parties to come together, share information and gain assurances that our electric service will be there when we need it."

The meeting will offer BGE officials a chance to explain what happened and what they plan to do to avoid problems.

"We have heard from businesses along Main Street who are concerned that this is becoming a very disruptive pattern rather than an exception to the rule," said Phil Straw, a spokesman in Bartlett's downtown office who worked by candlelight Tuesday.

The meeting is not expected to feature a question-and-answer period, Straw said, although people may want to follow up with BGE officials after the meeting.

"We don't want to turn this into some power-outage version of 'The Jerry Springer Show,' " he said.

The meeting will be held at 9: 30 a.m. Monday in the Dixon Room of the Carroll County Public Library's Westminster branch.

Pub Date: 2/25/99

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