Outage leaves Bar Harbor businesses in dark – again

BAR HARBOR — For the second time in just over a week, downtown hoteliers and restaurateurs on Sunday found themselves without power for hours during a peak business time.

Residents in the area of Ledgelawn Avenue reported hearing three loud booms around 5:45 p.m. on Sunday. It is believed that at that time a tree limb fell onto a electrical line on Ledgelawn Avenue and knocked out power to the entire downtown, Eden Street and Eagle Lake Road corridors.

It was two hours before an Emera Maine line crew had the problem fixed and power restored. According to a company press release, nearly 2,500 customers lost power in the incident. These included a number of downtown restaurants and many of the town’s largest hotels totaling thousands of rooms.

Mount Desert Island Hospital lost the phone system covering all of its medical centers, and was still experiencing a service outage Monday morning.

Downtown business owners, still smarting from a 14-hour power outage on July 5, typically one of the busiest tourist days of the year, were forced to scramble to do what they could for the dinner hour. Many found they had no choice but to close down.

Just a small handful of downtown restaurants were open for dinner. At the Bar Harbor Inn, guests were given battery-powered lanterns and dining room staff crossed out all but a few entrees on the menu, which they served to guests or those with reservations only. The Looking Glass restaurant was limited to lobster rolls, while the Thirsty Whale offered cold sandwiches only.

Several hoteliers said that nearly all of their guests took the outage in stride, but at least one had to deal with an angry customer who asked if Maine was a third-world country where they couldn’t keep the lights on.

Few if any hotels utilize backup generators here, with representatives of most saying that as seasonal businesses they do not expect power system trouble in the summer. The several downtown restaurants that managed to stay open Sunday did so by utilizing generators.

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Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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