BERLIN — A major power outage that covered large portions of northern Worcester County last weekend left lingering effects heading into the workweek, including a small, self-induced blackout by Delmarva Power Monday night.
Beginning Saturday afternoon around 4:30 p.m., the outage blanketed much of northern Worcester including the entire town of Berlin, most of West Ocean City and parts of south Ocean City. The blackout was caused by damage to the Delmarva Power transmission line by Saturday’s high winds, which were unofficially clocked at 86 mph by a Berlin resident’s unofficial backyard weather station. The most damage occurred close to Atlantic General Hospital on Route 113 where telephone poles were toppled.
“Over near AGH, the Delmarva Power transmission line that comes out of the Worcester sub at Ocean City Boulevard and Route 50, the transmission line comes out of there and feeds down Route 113 heading through Berlin and then heading to Ocean City. They had some poles breakoff during that storm Saturday so we lost the transmission feed to the town,” said Tim Lawrence, director of Electric Utility Department.
While the town purchases its electricity from a company located in Florida, that power is routed by Delmarva Power and the damage to the transmission line effectively ended all electric in Berlin for several hours. Many residents had power back by 9 p.m., but a part of North Main Street, Harrison Ave. and West Street was in the dark for at least another hour.
“The entire town went down because we only have one transmission line that feeds here,” said Lawrence.
Power was restored to all affected by 11:30 p.m. Saturday night. But the storm that caused the outage injured the transmission line to the point the 69,000-volt line had to be de-energized Monday night around midnight while repairs were finished. That cut power to the town for a short period over night.
Besides the damage to the transmission line, Saturday’s storm sheared off five poles, locked out four substations and left roughly 20,000 county residents without power at one point, according to Delmarva Power. There was moderate damage within the town of Berlin, including a badly damaged secondary line on Franklin Ave. as well as number uprooted trees.
“I’m not sure if they classified it as a tornado or just high winds but we had several trees uprooted in town, mailboxes pulled up out of the ground, fences tore up,” said Lawrence.
AGH and the Berlin Nursing Home were running on backup generators until 10 a.m. on Sunday.