The town of Orono hit a speed bump Tuesday afternoon, when 2,100 Emera Maine customers lost power after a car accident on Main Street. The crash was across the street from the Orono fire station at 63 Main St. The Bangor Daily News reported that a 74-year-old man drove a Subaru Outback into the pole at about 1:25 p.m.
The man suffered minor injuries, primarily due to an airbag being deployed and because the man was wearing his seat belt. The party involved claimed he was avoiding a collision with another vehicle when he hit the utility pole. Transformer damage was likely the cause of the power outage, Bob Potts, the spokesperson from Emera, said.
“It takes time to detach wires, set a new pole, and replace those wires,” Potts said Tuesday afternoon to the Bangor Daily News.
The power went out shortly before 2 p.m. and most customers did not see power returned until 6 p.m.
Fourth-year engineering physics student Ben Hebert was at home at the time of the power outage. “I was doing homework when it happened. My roommate and I just left and went to campus to keep doing homework.” Hebert noted that he didn’t learn of the cause of the outage until an hour after it occurred. “The landlord didn’t discuss any protocol with us. It came back around 6 p.m., and all I had to do was reset the clock on the stove.”
Areas affected by the power outage included Alton, Argyle, Glenburn, Hudson, Old Town, Orono and Stillwater. The University of Maine was not affected by the power outage.
According to the Emera Maine website, the company “provides electric delivery service to two areas – the Bangor Hydro District and the Maine Public District. The Bangor Hydro District includes Hancock, Piscataquis and Washington Counties and most of Penobscot County. The Maine Public District serves Aroostook County and a small piece of Penobscot County.”
The website features interactive links about outages and restorations, and offers online payment services and information for customers. There is also a page titled “Energy Solutions,” offering information on electric vehicles, energy managers and savings, heat pumps and PowerSmart Maine. The live outage and restoration map is updated every 10 minutes with areas and the total number of customers affected.
Most power outages in Maine are typically during the winter months when there is heavy snowfall.
In December 2016, a Nor’easter hit southern Maine with two feet of snow, leaving 10,000 people without power. In February 2017, Orono and the surrounding areas saw almost two feet of snow, canceling classes at UMaine and the surrounding areas for several days, with only storm day staff reporting.