Power cut by last week's storm was still out for 320 Calvert County residents Tuesday as rain and complicated tasks hindered repair crews, said Darcel Guy, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Gas and Electric. BGE officials hoped to have electricity restored to all customers by today, according to a posting on the company's World Wide Web site.
Last week, winds from Hurricane Floyd blew large trees into electrical lines, knocking out power for 490,000 BGE customers throughout Maryland. Most of those homes had the lights back on by Tuesday. But for the ones that didn't, the candles burned on and the piles of dirty clothes grew bigger.
One Calvert County resident--Jim Stratford of Owings--was frustrated as Tuesday's rains prevented a BGE crew from performing a necessary repair that he said involved flipping two switches.
"That's discouraging to say the least," Stratford said. "We get the feeling we're down at the bottom of the priority list."
Stratford complained that the power in the cul-de-sac where he and his family live is knocked out any time a severe storm whips through the area. He works from home as a public relations consultant and had not been able to check his e-mail or conduct business since last Thursday. His wife, Donna, took the couple's two young sons to a relative's home to launder dirty clothes. Two teenage daughters were frustrated with the lack of hot water for showers. The mound of dirty dishes in the sink grew every day, Stratford said.
"I realize there are people in worse shape than I am," Stratford said. "But BGE has been unresponsive, and if this chronic problem had been fixed, my power wouldn't be off now."
BGE has called in out-of-state crews to work round-the-clock on repairs, Guy said. She said "resources are allocated comparably" to the number of customers in an area. BGE serves 5,000 Calvert County residents. A total of 550 crews are working to restore power, and the company has distributed 338,000 pounds of dry ice to customers without refrigeration.
The Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, which supplies power to most of the region, had restored about 30,000 storm-interrupted connections by Sunday morning. The cooperative received about 16,000 calls related to the storm damage from last Thursday through Sunday, according to a statement from the utility.