Nearly all have power restored after Wednesday storm

Storm that brought heavy rains and wind gusts toppled trees over power lines

July 20, 2012|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Jan Hargest of Hagerstown has been without power for nearly 18 hours because of storm damage Thursday and says, without power to her fishtank her pet oranda 'Chole' could suffocate.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

Jan Hargest’s goldfish floated upside down in its aquarium Thursday morning, the day after Hargest’s Donnybrook Drive home lost electric power in the wake of Wednesday’s storm.

She said the electronic filtration system in the fish’s water needed to be operational to help it breathe.

“We’re losing our food in the refrigerator,” Hargest said. “I’m worried about my fish. We still don’t have power.”

Hargest and about 220 other Potomac Edison customers in Washington County didn’t have power as Thursday at 10:40 a.m., according to Potomac Edison’s website.

By 6:23 a.m. Friday, that number was down to 13.

The storm that passed through Wednesday at about 3 p.m. brought heavy rains and high wind gusts that toppled trees over electric lines.

Hargest said she knows other people went far longer without power when a storm crippled the mid-Atlantic region several weeks ago, but said she was a little upset by the situation.

Hargest and her neighbor, Jeannine Lazo, said they called Potomac Edison to report the power outage.

“They said they were aware and they’d take care of it,” Lazo said.

She said a tree-cutting service showed up Wednesday night to cut down a tree that had fallen over wires on her Spring Creek Road property, and Verizon came a little later to assess the damage.

A Verizon truck returned Thursday at about 9:30 a.m. and started working to repair the damage.

“When I consider the things that other people have gone through, they’re doing the best they can,” Lazo said. “Yes, I’m disappointed (by the response). But I’m thankful it wasn’t any worse.”

Lazo said the problem needed to be fixed as soon as possible because her husband uses a medical device that needs electricity to operate.

“He was without it during (Wednesday) night,” Lazo said.

Hargest said she called Potomac Edison Wednesday night, and was told by a power company representative that a Verizon pole had fallen onto the wires.

Potomac Edison, she said she was told, couldn’t fix the wires until Verizon removed its pole. Hargest said she then called Verizon, where a representative told her that the removal of the pole was Potomac Edison’s responsibility.

Todd Meyers, a spokesman for Potomac Edison, said the confusion resulted because the situation was rare.

In 90 percent of the cases, he said, Potomac Edison wires are attached to poles owned by Potomac Edison. But in this case, the Potomac Edison wires were connected to a Verizon pole.

Meyers said Verizon’s efforts to install a new pole were stalled Thursday morning when they struck a large rock deposit. As a result, a private contractor had to be called in to remove the rocks.

“It was just a little bit of a departure from the norm in this situation,” Meyers said. “We’ll be energized” as soon as it’s fixed.

Verizon didn’t respond to a message that was left Thursday seeking comment.

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