* Millions on East Coast without electricity
* Utilities assess damages and dispatch work crews
* Some oil refineries, nuclear plants still affected
* Pipelines and ports resuming normal operations
(Updates power outage figures, adds gasoline prices.)
By Joshua Schneyer and Selam Gebrekidan
NEW YORK, Aug 29 Energy firms along the U.S.
Eastern Seaboard scrambled on Monday to resume operations after
Hurricane Irene left millions of customers without power.
Refineries and other energy facilities escaped serious
damage, while utilities, whose power lines were battered by the
storm over the weekend, faced the most daunting workload, with
over 5 million homes and businesses from North Carolina to
Maine still cut off on Monday.
Restoring power could take days, and up to weeks in the
hardest-hit zones, due to flooding and strewn debris.
"Irene was weaker than some expected, but it will probably
take a week to restore power to some areas," said energy
analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover in Connecticut.
"The storm shouldn't have a permanent impact on energy
One of the hardest hit refiner was Sunoco (SUN.N), which
shut a crude unit at its Philadelphia refinery after a pump was
flooded, sources said. The company was boosting output at
another Pennsylvania plant, Marcus Hook. [ID:nN1E77S0P3]
ConocoPhillips' (COP.N) 238,000 barrel per day (bpd) Bayway
oil refinery in Linden, New Jersey also shut down on Saturday
but was due to restart on Monday, a source familiar with the
Other East Coast refineries that throttled back for Irene
were resuming normal operations, and wholesale gasoline prices
RBU1 fell by 1 percent on Monday at the New York Harbor,
after the oil hub reopened to vessel traffic following the
Impact of Irene on oil, natural gas pipelines, transport
5.5 mln customers without power on Monday after Irene
US nuclear facilities look to restart after Irene
East Coast refiners eye restarts after Hurricane Irene
One nuclear power reactor at Constellation Energy's CEG.N
Calvert Cliffs facility in Maryland remained shut after being
struck by wind-blown debris on Sunday, but the company said the
plant was safe. Other plants that reduced operations were
preparing to restore normal rates, while Exelon Corp's (EXC.N)
Oyster Creek New Jersey plant, which supplies up to 600,000
homes, remained offline. [ID:nN1E77S0VT]
POWER GRIDS HARDEST-HIT
As of 3:00 p.m. Monday (1900 GMT), power was restored to
one in every six households and business affected by outages
from Irene, the Department of Energy said.
That left 5.1 million customers without power in 14 U.S.
states, down from the 6.7 million affected in all by the storm,
the department said in a report. [ID:N1E77S0X2]
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Virginia -- where the
outages were greatest in number -- all had more than 600,000
customers without power on Monday afternoon.
In Rhode Island around two-thirds of all customers had no
power, or more than 280,000, the DOE said.
In New York State, 889,000 customers were still without
power late Monday.
Consolidated Edison (ED.N), which powers New York City and
nearby Westchester County, said around 70,000 remained affected
in those areas. It expected to restore city customers by late
Tuesday and others by Thursday.
Utilities warned that work could be slow-going.
"There are still areas we can't get to because of flooding
and debris," said Jersey Central spokesman Ron Morano, who
estimated that restoring service would take several days.
Around a third of the firm's 1.1 million customers in central
and northern New Jersey were affected on Monday.
PIPELINES NEARLY BACK TO NORMAL
Oil hubs at the New York Harbor and the Port of
Philadelphia were both scheduled to resume normal activities on
Monday, after Irene's approach forced them to restrict vessel
The 2.37 million bpd Colonial pipeline system, which ships
refined oil products from the Gulf Coast to New York, said on
Monday it was nearly ready to resume normal operations. The
storm cut power to some oil terminals supplied by the pipeline.
Kinder Morgan's 600,000 bpd Plantation pipeline from North
Carolina to Washington D.C. resumed operations after a brief
shutdown during the storm. [ID:nWEN7692]
(Additional reporting by David Sheppard, Janet McGurty,
Jeanine Prezioso, Eileen Moustakis, Joe Silha, Kristen Hays and
Jeff Kerr; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer, Matthew Robinson and