December 4, 2012

Felled tree chops power to 3,500 customers in seven towns on Tuesday

By Doug Harlow
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN -- Electrical power was knocked out to more than 3,500 Central Maine Power Co. customers in seven towns Tuesday morning after a logger reportedly cut down a large tree that fell onto a transmission line.

Parts of Fairfield, Mercer, New Sharon, Norridgewock, Rome, Skowhegan and Smithfield were affected, according to power company spokesman John Carroll. Power was lost for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on location, beginning about 11 a.m.

Carroll said the tree was cut outside of the 100-foot-wide CMP-owned transmission corridor, where long-distance power lines are set. The tree fell into the corridor and took out the power line, he said.

Repair crews were sent out immediately and power was restored.

Mike Smith, Somerset County director of communications and emergency management, said the outage originated just off the main transmission lines that cross Back Road, near the Fairfield town line.

"We took a power hit here," Smith said from the communications center on River Road in Skowhegan. "The lights dimmed for a bit, but not long enough for the generator to kick in."

Brent Colbry, superintendent of Skowhegan-based School Administrative District 54, said classes were conducted in the dark and telephones were down for about 45 minutes at the high school, the middle school and Bloomfield Elementary School, all on U.S. Route 2. District offices on U.S. 2 also were affected.

"It was just on this side of the river, so the other schools were not affected," Colbry said of the district's three other elementary schools, in Skowhegan and Canaan. "Emergency lights were on and it's warm, so we were OK."

Mill Stream Elementary School in Norridgewock was affected, but a generator was used to keep the lights on there, Colbry said.

Doug Harlow -- 612-2367

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