New Jersey-based utility companies are still evaluating the power outage from Tropic Storm Isaias on Tuesday, with nearly 1.4 million customers left in the dark since late afternoon and the state’s largest power provider calling it “among the strongest storms to hit our service area in recent years.”
In some areas, windy winds remain too strong for the van used to repair lines. Meanwhile, trees throughout the state are blocking roads and making some damage inaccessible.
The three major tool suppliers in the state already expect the recovery in some areas to be a multi-day investment in the wake of a storm that brought heavy rain, wind gusts of up to 75 mph, floods and even isolated tornadoes.
Two of the companies, JCP & L and Atlantic City Electric, are not yet delivering estimated times to restore power. PSE & G, the state̵
Governor Phil Murphy said residents “will need a little patience if you have lost your power.”
“This could be a multi-day period here until you get it back,” Murphy said in a television interview at WABC-7 in New York.
As of 5 p.m., the three power companies reported that just over one-third of New Jersey homes and businesses were without power:
- PSE & G: 472,000 out of 2.32 million customers
- JCP & L: 697,000 out of 1.13 million customers
- Atlantic City Electric: 180,000 out of 545,000 customers
“With tornado, flood and other weather warnings across the state, PSE & G expects that Isaias may be among the strongest storms to hit our area of service in recent years, and that some disruptions may last for a longer period,” said company spokeswoman Lauren Ugorji in an update at 16:45
JCP & L, which has the most outages, says on its website that “estimated restoration time will be provided when available.” Slow winds were cited as a continuous concern for repair crews.
“Heavy rain and high winds have hit our service area in recent hours, resulting in a significant number of broken poles, submerged wires and other equipment damage,” JCP & L said in the statement. In addition, crews cannot work in buckets when the wind exceeds 35 mph. When the weather calms down, crews will continue to evaluate damage to provide estimated recovery times. “
Atlantic City Electric, which serves parts of South Jersey, said estimated ties are “currently interrupted.”
“Due to the magnitude of the impact of this storm, restoration times are currently estimated and will be updated as crews assess damage,” said spokesman Frank Tedesco. “Atlantic City Electric crews and support staff will work around the clock until all damage has been repaired and all service restored.”
Samantha Levine, a spokeswoman for the state board of public utilities, said the outage “is changing rapidly because of the strength of the mobile system.”
“Once the storm has cleared, we will be able to better measure the extent of damage and estimate restoration times,” Levine added. “At the moment, the winds remain dangerously high and the tools will deploy teams as soon as they can safely do so.”
The current outages are about half of the more than 2.7 million customers who lost power at the height of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 – the largest power outage in the state’s history.
But officials warned that those numbers could grow on Tuesday as Isaias continues to move northwest.
“The storm is still on its way through our service area, causing further damage,” said Ugori of PSE & G.
The storm is expected to leave the area by the end of the evening, officials said.
Government officials said thousands of out-of-state crews are coming to New Jersey to help with outages.
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Brent Johnson can be reached at [email protected].
Matt Arco can be reached at [email protected].