BGE blames high-voltage line for outages in Harford County
5:05 PM, Dec 20, 2013
After three storms in a week's time, people in Harford County were caught off guard Thursday evening when the skies were clear and the power went off.
"My daughter just said the lights flickered a couple of times and she thought they were going to come back on and then all of the sudden they went off for about an hour," said Dennis King of Bel Air.
Workers at the county's emergency operations center in hickory were also surprised by the outage.
"This was a very sudden interruption of service encompassing a large area particularly in the center of the county. That's unusual," said Robert Thomas of the Department of Emergency Services.
BGE says a high voltage line went down and there was a switching problem to an alternative supply at some of its substations.
Complicating matters was a separate, unrelated outage at Baltimore's Penn Station due to an underground cable that made people wonder if a portion of the region's grid had gone down.
Back in Harford County, the biggest concern was the signal lights which went dark along a major corridor during the evening rush hour.
"All the traffic lights were out between the community of Hickory in the northern part of the county and all the way down to Wheel Road in the lower part of the Bel Air area," said Thomas.
Traffic at that time of day represents a steady stream over a six-mile span of road with lights impacted by the outage, but fortunately, fire officials report no accidents as the intersections turned into unexpected four-way stops.
"This is a heavy traveled intersection," said King. "At night time, it's even worse because everyone is home from work and they're all moving. Without the red lights here, it was a nightmare."