Living without power to the bitter end in Harford

It's especially tough to be one of the last to get power back following a major outage – and knowing you're in that predicament. It's like being ignored by the wait staff in a restaurant, or having your family forget your birthday.

That was the situation confronting residents living along Snow Road near I-95 in the Edgewood area Friday afternoon, as they coped with their sixth day without electricity, thinking they had been forgotten by BGE.


The 15 homes on the street, which runs between Edgewood Road and Van Bibber Road, had gone without power from Sunday though Friday at that point. They were among the last of the estimated 65,000 BGE customers who lost power at one point during Superstorm Sandy who hadn't been reconnected.

The problem, according to one Snow Road resident, may have been related to a very old and very large cedar tree that had a limb hanging over the power line feeding the street.


The tree frequently fouls power lines during storms, said Irene Carroll, who lives at 2205 Snow Road.

"I do see one of the branches completely down, but there's no [BGE] vehicle or anything there," Snow said via cell phone Friday afternoon.

Carroll said someone told her that the tree is historic and can't be taken down.

"I've lived here 46-47 years. I think we've been without power three times since I've been here, and each time was because of that tree," she said.

"I really would like to know about that tree. It's been here as long as I have been here," she added.

Bob Thomas, spokesman for Harford County government, said as far as he knows, there's no law against cutting down or severely trimming a tree, "historic or otherwise," if it's fouling power lines.

Thomas also said he checked with the county's highways division Friday, and the tree isn't along a county right-of-way. "This tree is not on our road," a highways official e-mailed Thomas.

A BGE crew did show up later Friday and was photographed working on the tree but, according to Carroll, it took another two days for her house to get power back.

"It was after lunch, 1 or 2 o'clock" when the power came back on yesterday [Sunday]," Carroll said Monday.

"Looks like it would be better off if they cut the thing down, it's all ragged," she said of the tree. "It's funny, it's been there for years and It looks like they are going to preserve it."

Historic tree or not, Carroll was already not happy about the situation in her neighborhood Friday, when she was among fewer than 300 BGE customers countywide who still didn't have power.

"We've got one young man across the street, but most of us are retired and have been here for years," she explained before the BGE tree crew finally showed up. "One lady had to go to her daughter's house. I've fried hamburgers in the fireplace."


The Carrolls have two freezers full of food they grow in their garden: butter beans, string beans and such.

"My son brought his generator over, so we've been able to keep the freezers and refrigerator on the generator," Carroll said. "Other than that, it's been like camping out unprepared."

She said they could run the furnace with the generator for a little while, but "you can't run [the generator] all the time."

"In the evening when we can't keep an eye on the fireplace, we run the furnace for a little bit," Carroll continued. "We also have a 56-year-old pecan tree in the back down on our shed, but it doesn't affect the electricity."

Carroll said she talked to the people across the street, and a man said she would get power "eventually."

"I asked him what year?" she said.

With her power finally back, Carroll had other issues to deal with.

"Insurance company said they'd be here within 4-5 days of the event" to help assess damages and clean up the pecan tree in her back yard. They still hadn't shown up by Monday afternoon, Carroll said.

Aegis staff member Allan Vought contributed to this article.

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