Potomac Edison: ‘Absolutely no way’ power will be restored to thousands

Out-of-town crews coming to help

wtopstaff | November 15, 2014 12:23 am

WASHINGTON — Potomac Edison customers without power may want to find another place to stay after a spokesman for the utility company told WTOP that Wednesday’s power outages would require “a multiple-day restoration.”

As of 2:30 a.m. Thursday, nearly 20,000 customers in Frederick County alone remained without power. Another 1,700 customers in Montgomery, more than 1,400 in Howard and nearly 2,900 in Carroll and more than 4,200 in Washington County had no power, according to Potomac Edison.

On Wednesday, up to 70,000 of the company’s customers had no service.

Freezing rain took a toll on the D.C. region Wednesday, leaving behind a thick layer of ice — especially to the north and west of the District.

At 8:10 p.m. Wednesday, Meyers told WTOP called Frederick County “our hardest-hit area,” adding that three-quarters of an inch of ice hit the county and warning that outage numbers may even jump back up as more trees and limbs fall.

Meyers again called the job “a multi-day restoration.” He said that about 300 people had been on the job all day Wednesday, and about 300 more were coming in from other areas.

“The help is on the way, but it’s just a very large swath of destruction,” Meyers says.

While most of the ice in the D.C. area melted over the course of the day, around Frederick County “we never experienced much of a warmup,” Meyers says.

Crews in the county are facing unique challenges, Meyers says. The ice didn’t stop until after noon, he says, and many roads were impassable for a long time, with trees mixed up with lines falling across roads.

Meyers added that the rural terrain of the county was also a problem: “Many of our lines go through fields, into the woods, up over mountains – they’re not right on city roads.”

Workers had a hard time leaving their trucks due to fear of “widow-makers” – heavy limbs encased in ice ready to fall.

He added that when crews encounter a downed line, their first responsibility is to cut power to the line, for the sake of public safety.

Meyers said that equipment such as poles, transformers and wires, well as the vehicles of out-of-town crews, were being assembled at Francis Key Stadium.

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