The Bangor Daily News has published several letters from disgruntled customers about our efforts to restore power to Down East Maine. It is important for our customers to understand the difference between restoring generation and our ability to get that energy to individual homes or businesses.
The eight miles of 115,000-volt transmission lines that went down in the storm relates to the generation part of our efforts. As soon as we discovered the problem, we began exploring a number of generation options for Down East. Teams assembled and worked through these various plans. To make a long story short — whichever option we chose meant the restoration of generation by either Monday night or at the latest Tuesday morning. Bango Hydro did restore energy Down East Monday night, thus meeting our timetable.
Then our field crews began the complex task of getting energy to our customers’ homes and businesses by repairing our distribution lines. This is a slow process and we sincerely appreciate the patience of our customers, Bell Atlantic, and the help of local officials as we continue this process.
Additionally, we are about to start rebuilding the eight miles of transmission line knocked out by the storm. Our purchasing group has secured more than 150 special poles; 144,000 feet of 115,000-vote transmission wire; more than 350 insulators; and the necessary hardware and construction crews to put it all together. (With the help of the National Guard, the old towers are now being cleared.) The project has been engineered, designed, surveyed and staked in the field. All of this in one week — A Herculean effort by a lot of dedicated folks.
We are still working hard to restore power to every remaining customer as quickly as possible. When we are done and look back to the “Storm of the Century,” will we find things we could have done differently? Yes. Wat the transmission line in Down East a cause of delay? No. William M. Cohen Director of communications and public affairs Bangor Hydro-Electric Co.