LEWISTON — As linemen made a big push Thursday to restore power, no one in Lewiston-Auburn was without electricity as of the supper hour, according to Central Maine Power.

The number of households without power dramatically improved Thursday after the Ice Storm of 2013, thanks to hundreds of linemen and tree-cutting crews from Canada and throughout New England, who gave up Christmas with their families to help Mainers in the cold.

By Thursday night, CMP’s total household outage dipped below 10,000, compared to 39,000 the night before, and a high of 123,000 outages Monday.

In Androscoggin County, only a handful of homes remained without power. In Kennebec County, among the hardest-hit areas, 5,500 customers were still without power Thursday night.

CMP spokesman John Carroll said the goal was to have the vast majority restored by the end of Thursday. Some homes in remote areas would take longer, he said.

While thousands went without power for days, the Ice Storm of 2013 was not as severe as the Ice Storm of 1998, when thousands went without electricity for weeks.


One reason, Carroll said, was CMP’s aggressive tree-trimming program, which started after the 1998 storm.

“We have a five-year cycle,” Carroll said. “We trim every single mile of (power line) every five years.” It may be tough to tell those who went without electricity for days that the program made a difference, but without it, outages would have been more widespread and would have taken longer to repair, he said.

He said CMP spends $23 million per year trimming trees.

To repair downed lines, crews have to first make sure the lines are not live, then work out of buckets 35 to 40 feet in the air, cutting heavy tree limbs and splicing power lines, Carroll said. In some instances, tree trimmers and linemen have to literally climb trees, he said.

Throughout the day Thursday, car crashes were reported just about everywhere, but most of them were minor, involving cars and trucks sliding off slushy roads. In Auburn, nine car wrecks were reported between the morning and evening commutes, with similar numbers reported in nearby towns.

In Androscoggin County, the snow stopped falling by 6 p.m. Thursday. The temperature began creeping up, a break from the cold weather officials say will continue into the weekend. Then, next week, more cold and possibly some snow are expected.

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