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Parts Of Northern New Jersey Remain In The Dark From Sandy; Utilities Announce Estimated Restoration Dates

By: CBS New York |

Home damaged by Sandy in Toms River, NJ Nov. 1, 2012
Home damaged by Sandy in Toms River, NJ Nov. 1, 2012 (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Parts of northern New Jersey continue to clean up the mess and devastation left by Superstorm Sandy.

Generators and tree chippers are providing the soundtrack today in neighborhoods across Union County, WCBS 880′s Jim Smith reported.

“I’m doing OK today. Come back tomorrow morning, it might be a different ballgame,” resident Bill Kissler told Smith.

“You take a look around this neighborhood in Kenilworth, there’s severe, severe damages,” resident Roger Murphy told Smith.

Downed trees, utility poles and wires have tangled together in dangerous piles across the neighborhood. Transformers are down, wiping out power to thousands.

“That house right behind you is condemned. That’s got two big trees on it,” Murphy told Smith.

Murphy’s generator is now powering his furnace for heat. But his concern now is a potential gas shortage and long lines just to fill up the tank to keep the generator running.

“Siphoning out of the cars was the next step,” Murphy told Smith.

Officials said more than 80 percent of New Jersey gas stations are unable to sell gas due to power outages, while the stations that are open have huge lines.

Some residents said they hope the power comes back on soon.

“A few days I think people can deal with but when we start getting to maybe a week or more it’s going to be very difficult,” another Kenilworth resident told Smith.

There is finally a light at the end of what’s been a dark tunnel for millions across New Jersey. Power companies have announced estimated electricity restoration dates.

Utility companies warn getting the lights back on will take some time, but there are at least target dates customers can look forward to.

Public Service Electric & Gas expects to reconnect 780,000 within a week to 10 days.

“Hurricane Irene was the largest storm in our history and that was 800,000 customers out,” PSE&G spokesman Ralph Izzo said. “In the past two days we’ve restored the equivalent of Hurricane Irene and we have another Hurricane Irene to go.”

Jersey Central Power & Light says it has restored service to 30 percent of its affected customers. JCP&L estimates most of the remaining 830,000 households will be restored by Wednesday. It may another week for some in the hardest hit areas. At one point, more than one million of the utility’s customers were without power.

Atlantic City Electric, which has 77,000 outages, expects to restore service to customers on the mainland by Sunday. There’s no estimate for repairs on the barrier islands.

Orange & Rockland Electric says about 56,000 customers are without service in New Jersey.

“We’ve been begging, borrowing and stealing crews to get in here and get this work done,” Orange & Rockland spokesperson Mike Donovan said.

About 1.7 million homes and businesses in New Jersey remained in the dark as of Thursday afternoon.