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Many still without power after Tuesday storm

August 28, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Crews from Allegheny Energy spent much of the daylight hours Wednesday restoring power to thousands of customers left in the dark in the wake of Tuesday's storm.

Allegheny spokesman Mike Grandillo said crews spent Wednesday restoring service to 22,000 customers in Maryland.

Spokesman Al Staggers said that by 10 p.m., up to 250 customers remained without power in Washington County and more than 3,000 in Frederick County.

"The damage in some areas was extensive," Grandillo said. "They had rebuilt the systems in some of those areas. It just takes time."

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The storm moved into the Hagerstown area at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, dropping nearly an inch of rain in some areas. Local weather observers said wind gusts measured at more than 60 mph in some locations.

Among those still without power Wednesday afternoon was Potomac Valley Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Ron Gray.

"Power to my residence didn't come on until late this afternoon," Gray said. "Trying to get up and get ready with no running water was inconvenient, but it was not too bad."

Gray said the outage was not difficult to adjust to because it only lasted for about a day and because he had a generator at home to run necessary appliances.

Most others in Washington County seemed to be affected by shorter outages.

"We were only out for about 41/2 hours," said Bill Brown, of South Main Street in Keedysville. "You seen a bunch of power trucks running back and forth last night."

Brown said power at his residence was restored shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Grandillo said Allegheny Power did not have an estimate of how much money Tuesday's storm cost the company in personnel, equipment damage and other factors.

Grandillo said the cost would not be passed on to customers because rates are capped until 2005 and regulated by the Maryland Public Service Commission.

"We're not allowed to just raise our rates whenever we want to," he said.

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