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Maine utility companies prepare to respond to Christmas Day outages

Both Central Maine Power and Versant Power will have crews prepared to respond Christmas morning, with more on standby.

MAINE, USA — Maine's power companies are gearing up to respond to a powerful storm set to hit the state Christmas Day. Bringing high winds and heavy rain, the threat of potential power outages during the holiday is real.

"Outages on a holiday. We can't imagine anything worse," Central Maine Power Spokesperson Catharine Hartnett said. 

CMP is bracing for the storm and has been coordinating damage response staffing for days. 

"We have a full contingent of CMP crews available. We are continuing to stay tuned to the forecast to see how we'll need to position people across the state," Hartnett said. 

Versant Power in northern and eastern Maine is also preparing for the storm.

"We know that it's an important day for our neighbors and our friends our families," Versant Power Communications Manager Judy Long said. "But as a essential service provider we feel a strong responsibility and duty to make sure we do everything we can to keep people safe and connected on Christmas day, as much as the weather will allow that to happen." 

Long added that Versant has crews ready, along with more prepared to be called in if necessary.

One concern for both utility companies is the high winds delaying restoration times. With winds projected to be upwards in miles per hour, crews will need to wait for wind speeds to be reduced before working on lines in bucket trucks.

"Even as we're working to handle public safety situations, begin to asses damage and restoration, that the continuing winds are going to cause continuing damage. So we ask people to please take steps to do what they can to prepare," Long said. 

Both Long and Hartnett say even with high winds and power outages, restoration efforts can still continue with work focused on the ground.

"With high winds, 35, 40 MPH. It's really unsafe and very dangerous to put line workers in the bucket trucks. What we can do is continue to patrol the circuits to figure out where the damage is that we will have to go revisit on the ground," Hartnett said. 

Hartnett says crews first focus on restoring outages that will bring the most customers back online first, then work to restore all power to all customers. 

Both CMP and Versant Power say they're prepared to work through the day and night on Christmas to restore power.