NEW FOR THURSDAY: Morning Power Outage Affected 5,000

BERLIN — Thousands were without power across a wide swath of northern Worcester County early this morning when a breaker tripped at a substation near Berlin after running low on gas.

Around 4:45 a.m. on Thursday, a breaker tripped at a Delmarva Power substation at Route 346 on the outskirts of Berlin leaving around 5,000 customers without power on a frigid fall morning.

The outage area was framed by Pittsville on the eastern edge of Wicomico County to the Glen Riddle community near West Ocean City, and from Newark, Md. to areas around Bishopville and the Maryland-Delaware line.

According to Delmarva Power spokesman Matt Likovich, the transmission breaker at the substation near Berlin ran low on gas and tripped, causing the extensive outages across the area.

“A breaker is a safety mechanism that trips when a problem is detected, such as a tree on a line or other problem,” he said. “In this case, the breaker ran low on gas and it tripped open and stayed open for safety reasons.”

Likovich said Delmarva Power crews are typically warned off a low-gas situation at a breaker but no warning came early Tuesday morning.

“Usually, a warning indicator goes off to signal a system is low on gas, but it didn’t go off this time,” he said. “We’re not sure why we didn’t get a warning indicator at this point, but it might have been due to the cold weather.”

Likovich said Delmarva Power crews were able to do some switching to other circuits early during the outage and restored power to around 1,300 customers in the Pittsville-Willards-Whaleyville area by 6:05 a.m. Crews were able to refill the gas at the tripped breaker near Berlin and power was restored to the remaining 3,700 customers in the outage area by around 7:30 a.m.