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Winter storm may slow power return

Some have had no electricity since Sunday

– Snow fell Thursday in places still hustling to get power back on after a weekend ice storm that turned out the lights from Michigan to Maine and into Canada.

Eastern Maine and parts of the state’s interior that have been without electricity since Sunday were expecting 3 to 7 inches of snow by the time the latest system pushed off the coast Thursday night. Utilities worried that the additional weight on branches and transmission lines could cause setbacks in the around-the-clock efforts to restore power.

“We don’t think it’s going to help us much, that’s for sure,” said Susan Faloon, a spokeswoman for Bangor Hydro Electric in Maine. “There was some concern expressed over the last couple of days about that storm coming, because obviously we still have lot of stuff weighing down trees and lines.

“The system is pretty compromised out there,” she said. “We expect we will have more outages.”

In Michigan, where about half a million homes and businesses lost power at the peak of the weekend storm, an inch or so of snow was expected. Utilities there reported 101,000 customers without power Thursday morning and said it could be Saturday before all electricity is restored.

Tony Carone lost power in his Lapeer, Mich., home Sunday morning. The 52-year-old lineman for Detroit-based DTE knew there were long hours ahead.

“I was one of the casualties,” he said while taking a break from restoration work Thursday morning.

Maine reported more than 21,000 customers still out, down from a high of more than 106,000. There were more than 101,000 without power in three Canadian provinces, including 54,000 in the city of Toronto.

Day five without power was met by tired but mostly stoic Mainers.

Bob and Katrina Johnson spent Christmas Eve at a family member’s house that had no electricity. Christmas morning was at their powerless house in Pittston, and that afternoon meant a trip to Katrina’s mother’s house, which also had no electricity.

“You have to go with the flow and adapt, and do the best you can,” Katrina Johnson said. “You learn how to deal with it. Do you like it? No, but you deal with it.”

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