* Power companies say restored service to 2.4 million
* New York, New Jersey each have more than 2 million out
* More than half of New Jersey customers powerless
By Scott DiSavino and Adam Kerlin
Oct 31 About 6 million homes and businesses in
15 U.S. states remained without power on Wednesday as utilities
scrambled to restore service disrupted by Hurricane Sandy,
federal data showed.
The power companies had restored electricity to some 2.4
million customers in the U.S. Northeast, although the pace of
recovery in New York appeared to lag behind other storm-hit
states, the data showed.
At the storm's peak impact on Tuesday, 8.48 million
customers in 21 states from North Carolina to Maine and as far
west as Illinois were without power after Sandy came ashore with
hurricane-force winds in New Jersey late Monday, according to
Department of Energy (DOE) data.
Power has been restored to nearly 600,000 customers in New
Jersey, out of more than 2.6 million that lost power, although
more than half the state still remains in the dark, according to
the data as of 3 p.m EDT.
In New York, where Sandy knocked out power to nearly a third
of the customers in New York City and Westchester County, only
about 150,000 customers of the total 2.1 million that lost power
in the state have seen it restored, according to the figures.
The DOE did not provide any further comment or explanation
for the figures.
NEW YORK CITY OUTAGES
In New York, power company Consolidated Edison Inc
said about 795,000 storm-hit homes and businesses in New York
City and Westchester County remained without power.
Con Edison said its crews had restored service to about
109,000 customers by 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) Wednesday.
That is less than the estimated 140,000 customers the
company said it restored on Tuesday. Officials at Con Edison
were not immediately available to explain the difference.
Con Edison said those customers still out include: about
237,000 in Manhattan, 115,000 in Staten Island, 109,000 in
Queens, 108,000 in Brooklyn, 40,000 in the Bronx, and 176,000 in
The power company said its Courtland district in Manhattan,
which spans from just below the World Trade Center to the lower
tip of the island, regained power Wednesday morning, and
restoration of the company's Brighton Beach district in Brooklyn
is expected by 4 p.m., said John Miksad, senior vice president
of electric operations at Con Edison.
Customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn, who are served by
underground electrical equipment, should have power back within
Restoration to all customers in other areas served by
overhead power lines like Westchester and Staten Island will
take at least a week.
Miksad said there was a large crew assembled at Con Edison's
14th Street station, the site of a large explosion that caused
most of lower Manhattan's power outages, and customers served by
this station are expected to regain power by Friday or Saturday.
For areas served by underground wires, Con Edison said
workers must clean and dry equipment of seawater before it can
be safely placed back in service.
"In 120 years we've never seen damage this significant,"
Con Edison said Sandy was the largest storm-related outage
in its history. The previous record was the more than 200,000
customers affected by Hurricane Irene in 2011.
Irene left an estimated 8.38 million customers out along the
U.S. East Coast from South Carolina to Maine.
Tuesday night, Con Edison said it cut power to about 160,000
customers in southern Brooklyn and central Staten Island due to
Sandy-related problems on high-voltage systems supplying
electricity to those areas.
The company also said it reduced the voltage in several
neighborhoods in Brooklyn by 8 percent Tuesday night as workers
fixed problems there.
The company said Sandy knocked down more than 100,000
electric wires. Some roads were blocked by trees or flooding,
slowing those working to restore power in areas served by
overhead wires like Westchester.
Con Edison said it has secured assistance from 1,400
external contractors and mutual aid workers from utilities as
far west as California to help with the restoration efforts.