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Posted at 12:13 PM ET, 01/27/2011

Power outages could last days

By Mary Pat Flaherty

Roughly 359,000 electrical customers around the region remained without power about 11 a.m. as utilities worked to restore service.

Some local officials and at least one utility said, however, that some customers could be without power until this weekend. Spokesmen for Pepco, BGE and Dominion Virginia said they were gathering information on outages and would have better estimates of restoration times Thursday afternoon.

In Montgomery County, where 118,500 Pepco customers were without power, officials have already said power outages could extend for a few days.

BGE said customers in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties and Baltimore were the hardest hit. Spokesman Robert L. Gould said some pockets could be without power until Sunday.

Gould said the wet, clinging snow and high winds during Wednesday's storm caused more power losses to BGE customers than did the back-to-back blizzards in February when the utility faced "snow that was lighter and fluffier and blew off the lines once the storm passed. That is not what we are seeing today."

Wind gusts that reached 35 miles an hour and kicked in after the snow passed also impeded the use of bucket trucks for repairs, Gould said.

Utility crews also battled the same traffic backups that locked in commuters around the area, with Dominion spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson describing a situation that captured the frustration. "We had a crew pre-positioned and ready to go in Herndon from our building and they couldn't get out of the lot because of the backup on the street," said Anderson.

"The problem was a traffic issue and we have never had that kind of problem with streets before, purely in terms of being able to get out on to a street because of backups, that I can recall," said Anderson.

By Mary Pat Flaherty  | January 27, 2011; 12:13 PM ET
Categories:  DC, Maryland, Virginia  
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