BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A week of darkness. Days after Hurricane Irene, thousands of Marylanders are still waiting for their power to return.

Gigi Barnett has the latest from frustrated families and BGE crews.

The light is on the way for many people who have been in the dark, but here’s the problem– more downed tree lines. That’s what BGE says it has to contend with at this time. First, they have to get them out of the way, and then, there will be power for everyone.

It has been an around-the-clock, non-stop week for BGE crews since Hurricane Irene hit this past weekend. Homeowners call it a week of watch and wait.

“I’ve been feeding the generator just to keep the refrigerator and stuff going, and carrying a couple of buckets of water into the house,” homeowner Mike Tracey said.

Hurricane Irene’s powerful winds caused a ripple effect of chaos. Large trees snapped power lines which knocked the lights out to hundreds of thousands of customers. Some continue to call BGE’s Storm Control Center.

“We’re very aggressively attacking this,” said Rob Gould, BGE spokesman. “We’re doing this in a balanced fashion across every county.”

Now, the utility is promising that the next 24 hours will be the last day customers will sit in the dark.

“So much of our day-to-day dependency has grown on electricity. There’s a lack of patience that comes with that when your day-to-day life is upset. And we understand that,” said Gould.

“It wasn’t even a spark or anything when the wires broke off. I mean, it was just out, right away,” Tracey said.

He lost power five days ago.

Tracey is in the last six percent of homes and businesses without electricity. Now it’s his turn to get it back.

“I can’t complain,” he said. “I mean, at least they’re here now. It’s my turn.”

Utilities from 18 different states answered BGE’s call to help. Now, the company says it is close to reaching its goal of restoring power to everyone by Saturday afternoon.

“We have to remember, this was a massive hurricane that struck this territory, and we have some massive, vicious damage out there,” Gould said.

BGE says it is actually a day ahead of where it was back when Hurricane Isabel hit. The lessons they’ve learned, they’re now into practice. They say by midnight Friday, 5,000 more customers will have power. The remaining customers without power would have it back Saturday.

Comments (8)
  1. Eric says:

    It’s great that BGE got help from other companies, the only problem is that they aren’t allowing them to actually fix the issue. According to a BGE employee I spoke with there are liability issues so all that extra help is only useful to diagnose, not actually do any good fixing the problems. Most other companies aren’t that ridiculous, hence Delmarva already being restored completely.

    1. tired says:

      This is not true. My husband is a lineman and when out of state they do the same work. Delmarva has fewer customers to serve and our power goes out much more often then it ever did under BGE.

  2. Barbara Hubbell Cadogan says:

    The comment made by Mr. Gould that “We’re very aggressively attacking this,” “We’re doing this in a balanced fashion across every county.” Is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. The number of crews throughout the counties was not balanced. Carroll County for instance had one or two crews until Thursday … how is that balanced. BG&E was more worried about the race in Baltimore than their clients in places with not public water or sewer. We pay a Fortune for power and this is how we are all treated. My power is still out … we are on day seven!!!!!

  3. Heida says:

    Still no power or water on day seven. Time to head out for my daily toilet water run…

  4. Kathy Tempesta says:

    BGE has made and broken a lot of promises over the last week so you will excuse me if I find this latest one hard to believe. The power went out on my entire block in Ellicott City Saturday night. First they told us it would be back Sunday at 11am, then Monday at 10:30pm, then Friday evening. Yet here I am at Barnes & Noble on Saturday morning charging my phone and laptop and calling around to friends and family to figure out where I can get a hot shower today.

    I’m really hoping the next PSC hearing where BGE asks for yet another rate hike is open to the public. I want to hear what they are doing with the money from the rate hikes they have already had because it’s not going to improve our infrastructure.

  5. avogt says:

    BGE as a company really did a lousy job preparing for this storm– we finally got power back yesterday afternoon because as a small neighborhood of only 100 houses were were at the bottom of the list– a tree was down over live powerlines– they came out Monday and saw and never came back until late Thursday when we were told the crew was too tired– they would return the next day.I don’t blame the crews I know that they are only doing what they are told to do.
    Someone needs to tell Mr. Gould to come and live with us who have been out for seven days– pouring water down toliets and going to friends houses for showers– then he can report on how “we are too dependent on electricity” from the real world per his comments on the news.

  6. What? says:

    You people make me sick! Do you even know how much damage the system sustained??? The whole company was working 12-30 hour shifts to keep things safe and restore power as quickly as possible… There has to be someone the gets restored last I’m sorry that it was you, but it has to be someone! BGE said there would be sporadic outages on Saturday just for your information

  7. what? says:

    And I saw crews from Norman Oklahoma, Alabama, and Mississippi fixing the wires so the first comment is completely not true… Just amazed how people want everything done right away

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