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October 27, 2012

Northern New England prepares for big storm


The threat of the storm caused President Barack Obama's re-election campaign to cancel a rally featuring first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday.

New Hampshire's largest utility was calling its customers to remind them to prepare for power outages that could accompany the hurricane early next week. Public Service Co. of New Hampshire made calls Friday to customers who are on medical support devices or are otherwise especially vulnerable when power outages occur, and it planned to make similar calls to all customers over the weekend.

Utility crews from as far away as Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas were on their way to New Hampshire to join Public Service crews and local contractors in making repairs to anticipated storm damage.

In Maine, the state's Emergency Management Agency said that although the storm was expected to turn inland south of the state, it has the potential to create significant problems beginning on Monday.

Even before the weekend, Gov. Paul LePage signed a limited Emergency Declaration that will allow power crews from other states and Canada to help Maine prepare for the storm. The declaration will help Maine power providers pre-place their crews by extending the hours their crews can drive.

"County and local emergency managers, first responders and utility companies are getting ready for a serious storm," said Robert McAleer, director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency. "But we all can take steps to make sure we can weather the storm."

Central Maine Power Co., which services most of the state, said its utility trucks were fueled and equipped in preparation for the storm, and key CMP personnel were holding pre-storm planning sessions to finalize storm-response plans. Farther north, Bangor Hydro Electric Co. and Maine Public Service planned to work together to cover both service territories and deploy crews to support each other as needed.

In Vermont, Green Mountain Power had tree and line crews on call from six states and Ontario to assist the utility in power restoration efforts.


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