Reporting Gigi Barnett
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.