Downed trees

Tree damage along Northern parkway and Dunroming, where three large trees in a row were toppled. The homes seemed to escape serious damage. (Gene Sweeney Jr./Baltimore Sun / July 3, 2012)

"Sometimes it greatly aids the diagnosis," Woerner said of customers' calls.

While the first repairs restored power to thousands of customers, the average repair job Wednesday was for the benefit of about 50 customers, on average, he said.

Maryland Public Service Commission Chairman Douglas Nazarian on Wednesday scheduled a news conference on the issue for 11 a.m. Thursday. He will discuss what qualifies as a "major storm event," the commission's role during major storms and will detail the post-storm reports and hearings required of utilities.

Some, including state Sen. James C. Rosapepe, a Democrat representing Prince George's and Anne Arundel Counties, have called for BGE to explore the burying of power lines.

BGE spokesman Rob Gould dismissed the suggestion as impractical, estimating it would cost $1 million per mile of overhead line, but Nazarian is expected to address that question, as well.

Despite the frustration, many were able to enjoy the Independence Day celebrations, albeit under unusual circumstances. An annual tradition of free admission to the Mount Washington Swim Club had to be canceled because of a power outage there.

Caroline Tufts, an organizer of the 13th annual Mount Washington parade, was without power and spending nights at a friend's house in Parkville, but the event went on as usual.

"We're surviving," Tufts said. "It's not the end of the world. We could be in Colorado, dealing with fires."

Baltimore Messenger reporter Larry Perl contributed to this article.