An equipment failure at a Central Maine Power substation in Belfast caused a large scale power outage Sunday, June 15, which affected all of Waldo County and many surrounding towns for approximately three hours.

Power went out in the area at about 12:30 p.m. Many gas stations and grocery stores were closed during the outage, which coincided with the Trek Across Maine bike event ending at the Belfast waterfront. Local police stepped in to direct traffic and bikers through busy intersections while traffic lights were not working.

Gayle Rice, a spokesman for Central Maine Power, said in a phone call with The Journal that a mobile substation was in use at the Belfast substation while work was being done there. The mobile transformer failed and this had a cascading effect because it was feeding power to other substations. In total 14,361 customers in 20 towns were affected, Rice said.

According to the Central Maine Power website, at 2:58 p.m. 13,056 customers were without power in Waldo County, 1,072 were without power in Kennebec County, and 527 were without power in Penobscot County.

Rice said workers were able to get almost half of the customers (6,958) back up at 1 p.m., but the rest required running tests to ensure the repair could handle the load. Power was restored at 3:36 p.m. to the remaining customers affected by the outage.

"The timing was unfortunate because the Trek Across Maine was happening in Belfast at the time and others were inconvenienced as well," Rice said. "But it sounds like people were able to take it in stride, and we were able to get the power back up to all customers by 3:30 p.m."

Towns affected included: Albion, Belfast, Belmont, Brooks, Burnham, Dixmont, Frankfort, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Lincolnville, Monroe, Montville, Morrill, Northport, Newburgh, Prospect, Plymouth, Palermo, Rockland, Searsmont, Searsport, Stockton Springs, Swanville, Thorndike, Unity, Waldo and Winterport.