Central Maine Power finding more ways to mitigate motor vehicle outages

AUGUSTA — In an effort to mitigate customer impacts from  recent spikes in motor vehicles damaging utility poles, Central Maine Power is further utilizing certain repair strategies, some of them new.

After certain crashes, CMP is using a device called a “phase tree” in a new way to essentially  create a temporary utility pole that preserves the functionality of electricity lines while repairs to infrastructure are made.  

On July 23, a phase tree was successfully used by a crew of Central Maine Power line workers in Readfield after a pole was broken during a motor vehicle crash on Route 41. As a result of the repair crew using the phase tree, approximately 2,800 customers did not lose power.  

On Sept. 6 CMP line workers used a repair strategy that involved leaving electric lines energized while a restoration effort was underway after a car crashed into and severely  damaged a utility pole on Madison Avenue in Skowhegan. As a result, fewer customers lost power and CMP is working to implement this type of repair more as well.  

So far this year, CMP has responded to 430 incidents of motor vehicle crashes impacting our  system, causing 131,127 people to lose power. Over the same period in 2022, CMP responded  to 409 incidents, but 169,434 customers lost power.  

CMP attributes this significant decrease — 38,307 fewer customers affected by these  incidents this year — to both these new and enhanced repair techniques as well as increased  automation on its grid.

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