EMEC Restores Power Rapidly to Calais and Surrounding Areas

By Lura Jackson

 

On the morning of Tuesday, October 31st, nearly half the population of Maine woke up without power. The number of residents without power following Monday’s howling windstorm and heavy rains was more than those who lost power during the legendary ice storm of 1998. Central Maine Power, the largest provider in the state, indicated that full recovery could take weeks. In Calais, however, residents and business owners were nearly all content to be working in their homes or offices on important projects Tuesday morning, such as the production of this week’s issue of The Calais Advertiser. Our gratitude is extended to Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative [EMEC], which has been diligently conducting preventative maintenance to ensure the power in Calais and nearby areas stayed on or was restored quickly.

“The Co-op works hard to keep trees in the power line rights of way trimmed and cleared,” said Charlie McAlpin, Communication and Member Services Manager of EMEC. “We also have the advantage of being a small company with low turnover, so our employees coordinate well together, and this is especially true of the linemen.”

While the brunt of the storm did hit the southern and western parts of the state, as McAlpin indicated, EMEC has been proactive in introducing new methods of monitoring to quickly respond to outages. “We’ve begun an update of our metering system. Robbinston, Perry, Pembroke, and part of Calais have been updated, and we were able to use that in yesterday’s storms,” McAlpin said. “For those updated meters, we can quickly poll them to see which ones are still connected to the system. That makes diagnostics faster during storms.”

Of the 12,500 locations that EMEC provides power to, outages were experienced at 2,500 of them. McAlpin said that the first calls of outages arrived at 5:00 a.m. on Monday. Thanks in part to the new monitoring system, the last outage was restored at 9:30 p.m. the same day.