Without electricity, Christmas plans dimmed for half-million customers in US, Canada

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Associated Press

Posted on December 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM

DETROIT (AP) — Winter storms have made for more of a dark and cold Christmas than a white one for many.

A half-million utility customers, from Michigan to Maine and into Canada, have been without power thanks to an ice storm that began rolling across the region last weekend.

One utility calls it the worst Christmas week outage in its history.

Repair crews have been working around the clock to restore service, and they report good progress this morning despite more snow rolling into the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest overnight.

Central Maine Power says its goal is to use more than 1,000 workers to restore power for all customers by tomorrow night, while other utilities in Maine are warning customers they could be without electricity until Friday. Repair efforts could be complicated by windy weather. Forecasters predict gusts of about 20 miles an hour in some places, which could bring down more tree limbs.

Authorities say the storm contributed to the deaths of 14 people, including a 50-year-old man in Maine who was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a generator.

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027-w-34-(Sandy Kozel, AP correspondent, with Gail Rice, spokeswoman, Central Maine Power)--All thousands want for Christmas -- is electricity. AP correspondent Sandy Kozel reports. (25 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *027 (12/25/13)££ 00:34

047-a-08-(Gail Rice, spokeswoman, Central Maine Power Company, in AP interview)-"parts of circuits"-Gail Rice, with Central Maine Power, says in some places ice has to be chipped off of fallen or hanging power lines. (25 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *047 (12/25/13)££ 00:08 "parts of circuits"

049-a-14-(Gail Rice, spokeswoman, Central Maine Power Company, in AP interview)-"looming up above"-Gail Rice, with Central Maine Power, says ice storms do a lot of damage to power lines. (25 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *049 (12/25/13)££ 00:14 "looming up above"

050-a-13-(Gail Rice, spokeswoman, Central Maine Power Company, in AP interview)-"reenergize these circuits"-Gail Rice, with Central Maine Power, says crews are working as best they can given the conditions. (25 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *050 (12/25/13)££ 00:13 "reenergize these circuits"

074-a-08-(Gail Rice, spokeswoman, Central Maine Power Company, in AP interview)-"make some progress"-Gail Rice, with Central Maine Power, says the utility had about 62,000 accounts with without power as of late Christmas Eve. ((watch for dating)) (25 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *074 (12/25/13)££ 00:08 "make some progress"

075-a-12-(Gail Rice, spokeswoman, Central Maine Power Company, in AP interview)-"additional line workers"-Gail Rice, with Central Maine Power, says utility crews will be working around the clock to get all power restored. ((watch for dating)) (25 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *075 (12/25/13)££ 00:12 "additional line workers"

APPHOTO MEWAT506: Trees frozen in ice cripple a section of power lines on Maplehurst Drive in Belgrade, Maine, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. From Michigan to Maine, hundreds of thousands remain without power days after a massive ice storm — which one utility called the largest Christmas-week storm in its history — blacked out homes and businesses in the Great Lakes and Northeast. (AP Photo/The Central Maine Morning Sentinel, Michael G. Seamans) (24 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO MEWAT506 (12/24/13)££

APPHOTO MEWAT505: Andrew Powers, an arborist with Asplundh Tree Experts, clears iced branches from power lines along Mayflower Heights Drive in Waterville, Maine, on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Central Maine Power said nearly 57,000 were without power Monday afternoon, up from 29,000 it had been reporting earlier. Hardest hit was Kennebec County with about 20,000 and Waldo County at nearly 15,000 customers without power. (AP Photo/Morning Sentinel, Michael G. Seamans) (23 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO MEWAT505 (12/23/13)££

APPHOTO MILAN101: Dave Dora, a lineman from Grand Haven Board of Light and Power, works on connecting fallen wires on Macon Avenue in Lansing, Mich., Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. From Michigan to Maine, hundreds of thousands remain without power days after a massive ice storm — which one utility called the largest Christmas-week storm in its history — blacked out homes and businesses in the Great Lakes and Northeast. (AP Photo/Lansing State Journal, Greg DeRuiter) (23 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO MILAN101 (12/23/13)££

APPHOTO VTBUR103: Utility crews respond to a downed power line at the intersection of Dorset Street and Kennedy Drive in South Burlington, Vt., on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. From Michigan to Maine, hundreds of thousands remain without power days after a massive ice storm — which one utility called the largest Christmas-week storm in its history — blacked out homes and businesses in the Great Lakes and Northeast. (AP Photo/Burlington Free Press, Glenn Russell) (23 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO VTBUR103 (12/23/13)££

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