MAINE, USA — UPDATED SUNDAY, 2:15 p.m.
Emera Maine is reporting 11,401 outages as of Sunday morning.
Central Maine Power (CMP) is reporting 38,255 outages Sunday morning. CMP has restored power to more than 200,000 customers since late Thursday and is on pace to complete restoration for the vast majority of customers Sunday night.
UPDATED Saturday, 11 a.m.
CMP is reporting there are still more than 150,000 customers without power while Emera Maine reports 36,405 outages as of Saturday morning.
CMP said they have restored power to 100,000 customers and are continuing through the weekend with additional contractors to get the remaining 150,000 customers' power restored.
The company reported more than 260,000 customers without power at some point during the Thursday and Friday snowstorm.
CMP now projects that power will be restored to the vast majority of customers by Sunday night, but will keep workers in the field until restoration is complete.
“We worked through the night and we have more than 2000 people working hard to restore outages today,” Doug Herling, President and CEO of CMP, said. “We understand this is a holiday weekend and that Maine people must stay home because of state orders. We’re working as quickly and safely as possible to repair the system damage and will be out until the last customer is restored.”
CMP asks that for the health and safety of the working crews and the public that customers not approach lineworkers on work sites in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The company is also directing lineworkers and field staff to take all appropriate precautions including:
- Limiting one employee per vehicle travelling to field locations
- Working in separate teams to minimize contact
- Restricting visitor access to company facilities
- Entering a customer residence only in the event of emergency and after assessing risk
- Maintaining appropriate physical distancing in the field
Gov. Janet Mills said Friday Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will be working wtih power companies to expedite power restoration, giving priority to hospitals and health care facilities that are experiencing outages.
Responding to a request from CMP through the North Atlantic Mutual Assistance Group (NAMAG), Canadian power company Hydro-Québec is sending crews across the border to help restore power in Maine. Nearly 50 line workers and about 60 trucks are being sent over to assist starting Saturday afternoon in the Rumford area.
The crews en route to Maine are coming from several Québec regions, mainlly from Montreal, Montérégie, and the Laurentians.
"We are thankful and proud our line crews have made themselves available during this Easter weekend to lend a helping hand to our neighbor," Hydro-Québec spokesperson Lynn St-Laurent said in a press release.
Emera Maine Tweeted Friday evening saying they expect to restore service to more than 30% of the 75,000 affected customers by the end of the day Friday.
"We do anticipate that we will be making repairs into the weekend," said Judy Long, a spokeswoman for Emera Maine.
The pressure is on for Maine's power companies.
"Our customers are facing challenges because we know many of them are working or holding school in their homes," said Long. "We also know a lot of them have done a lot of grocery shopping at one time so their freezers and refrigerators are filled with food."
Power crews are facing challenges as well.
"One of the challenges is the people that do most of the restoration out in the field are usually two people in one truck and we have separated them for social distancing so it makes some complications there," explained Doug Herling, President and CEO of Central Maine Power.
To help, CMP has brought in 223 external contractors, some from as far away as Connecticut.
Some spots in Maine received snow totals in the double digits.
You can track the state snow totals here.
The powerful spring storm is elevation-dependent, and could rival some of the heaviest snow of the winter season, NEWS CENTER Maine meteorologist Todd Gutner said.
The snow was wet and heavy, the usual cause for bringing down power lines.
Gusty winds up to 50 mph were expected late last evening and overnight.
The above video shows snow in Bangor around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
You can track the state snow totals here.
This story will be updated.