PSE&G: About 900,000 still without power from high of 1.7M customers

TRENTON – PSE&G reported late this afternoon that as of 5 p.m. approximately 900,000 customers remained without power out of

TRENTON – PSE&G reported late this afternoon that as of 5 p.m. approximately 900,000 customers remained without power out of an estimated 1.7 million affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The utility’s “best forecast” is that all customers will be restored within seven to 10 days, said PSE&G President Ralph LaRossa.

While he said he expects the majority to have power restored well before Friday, Nov. 9, “isolated pockets of customers may still experience’’ outages.

During a teleconference today, LaRossa provided figures for various areas around the state.

In Hudson County, there were about 100,000 customers without power, down from a high of about 230,000.

In Middlesex, 127,000 were powerless from a high of more than 210,000, he said.

In Bergen, 170,000 were without power from a high of 235,000.

There were fewer than 100,000 in PSE&G’s entire southern New Jersey division without electricity.

Figures have fluctuated, he said, in part because of some initial problems with data reporting, and with new problems being discovered as crews go out.

Also, sometimes, the utility has to take power down for safety reasons. LaRossa said as an example there was a leaning pole on Route 1 that necessitated the utility cutting power in order to make repairs.

He said there are about 7,000 “primary damage locations’’ around the state, including downed wires, for example, that need to be addressed.

Refineries and gas stations are also a major concern.

LaRossa said he would not discuss details publicly about restorations to them. “I’m worried about people making trades in the commodities market based on comments here, but it is at the very top of our list.”

In addition, he said, “I also am seeing people getting nervous when they see long lines at gas stations that are open.”

He said that while emergency facilities such as hospitals remain a priority, they will address gas stations on major thoroughfares where they can.

The effort to reach out to the public with regular updates is important, in part, because of the criticism utilities around the state heard last year from state officials and the public during the outages after Hurricane Irene.

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