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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Leaves Millions Without Power Across Tri-State Area

NEW YORK  – Millions of people across the Tri-State area are without power after Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the region, bringing down trees and power lines.

Nearly 4.5 million customers served by Con Edison, LIPA, PSEG, JCP&L, Connecticut Light and Power, Orange & Rockland, and NYSEG were without power Tuesday morning.

Con Edison was reporting about 670,000 customers without electricity, mostly in New York City and Westchester County.

“This is the largest storm-related outage in our history,” said Con Edison Senior Vice President for Electric Operations John Miksad.

Sandy beat the previous record which was set last year when Hurricane Irene left more than 200,000 customers in the dark.

Crews are facing several challenges restoring service. Miksad said much of the low-lying areas of New York City and Westchester County remain underwater, 200 wires are down on Staten Island, and there are more than 180 roads closed in Westchester.

In Manhattan, power was knocked out around 8 :30 p.m. Monday following a transmitter explosion at a substation at East 14th Street, leaving a huge stretch from East 39th Street to the lower tip in the dark.

The utility said it could take up to a week to restore power to customers affected by the explosion.

It could take up to four days to restore power to about 6,500 customers affected by a planned power cut. Con Ed cut power intentionally to some customers in lower Manhattan and southern Brooklyn in an effort to protect equipment from salt water and allow for quicker restoration.

“We have to assess the damage,” spokesman Chris Olert said. “Now we have to get in there, get the salt water out, basically the dried salt, dry the equipment, test it and then make sure it’s safe to restore the power.”

Con Ed is advising customers to assume downed electrical wires are live and not attempt to move or touch it with any object.

“Just stay indoors; stay safe,” Olert said.

Customers can report downed power lines, outages, and check service restoration at or by calling 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

On Long Island, LIPA crews had to stand down because of the extreme winds, but would be out again restoring power beginning at 7 a.m. Over 900,000 customers were without electricity and it could take seven to 10 days to get the power back on.

In New Jersey, PSE&G was reporting more than 1.2 million customers without power as of 4 a.m. Tuesday, making it the largest storm in the utility’s history.

The utility said severe flooding from the storm surge affected substations in Essex, Hudson an Middlesex counties. The substations have been taken out of service and equipment will be cleaned and dried once the water recedes.

Crews will also have to wait for strong winds to subside so it is safe to work in bucket trucks and other equipment. The utility is working with town and county officials to work on clearing roads of debris so crews can get to locations with damage.

“PSE&G will be working around the clock to assess the damage and restore service,” PSE&G president Ralph LaRossa said.

PSE&G is urging customers to be ready for lengthy outages, lasting seven days or more.

To report a power outage call 1-800-436-PSEG.

Meanwhile, JCP&L was reporting 935,000 outages mostly in Ocean, Monmouth and Morris counties; Connecticut Light and Power had about 475,000 customers affected; Orange & Rockland was reporting 179,000 outages; NYSEG had about 100,000 outages.

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