* New York has most outages at over 525,000
* 32 pct of Connecticut customers affected by outages
NEW YORK, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Power was restored by Tuesday to a majority of the homes and businesses along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard that were hit by Tropical Storm Irene at the weekend, but more than 2.8 million customers remained without electricity, the U.S. Department of Energy said.
The DOE said 2.85 million customers remained without power in 14 U.S. East Coast states at 1:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Tuesday, down from a peak of 6.7 million affected after Irene pelted the region with high winds and rain.
Utility companies said it could still take days to restore electricity in accessible areas and weeks in hardest-hit regions. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Con Edison (ED.N) said it planned to restore power to all affected New York city customers by late Tuesday night while power may not be fully restored in Westchester county earlier than Thursday night because of the damage Irene caused on local infrastructure.
“Irene took her toll on the trees and the trees took their toll on the power lines,” said Chris Olert, a spokesman for Con Edison.
Across the Hudson river, New Jersey power provider, PSEG said in a twitter message Hurricane Irene caused the worst power outage in the company’s history.
The DOE report on power cuts gives a break out of outages by state. New York and Connecticut -- where the outages were greatest in number -- each had more than half a million users affected by Tuesday afternoon. Connecticut had the biggest percentage of users affected, with one-third of the state’s customers without power, the DOE said.
While New York state still had the most outages with about 525,000 customers without power, Connecticut was a close second with about 509,000 customers affected and had the largest portion of its homes and business affected, at 32 percent.
The United Illuminating company reported widespread damage to infrastructure in Connecticut, the government said in its twice-daily report.
Following is a table of outages as of 1:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) issued by the Department of Energy.
Customers customers STATE without power without power Connecticut 508,963 32 Delaware 3,452 1 D.C. 3,695 2 Maine 93,995 7 Maryland 268,038 12 Massachusetts 216,889 7 New Hampshire 31,438 5 New Jersey 343,835 10 New York 525,386 7 North Carolina 147,347 4 Pennsylvania 153,883 3 Rhode Island 133,313 31 Vermont 18,088 5 Virginia 402,535 13 ----------------------------------------------- TOTAL 2,850,857 (Reporting by Selam Gebrekidan; Editing by Marguerita Choy)