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As heat returns, over 150,000 still without power in NY, NJ

Tropical Weather New York
Posted at 10:12 AM, Aug 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-09 22:34:19-04

NEW YORK — Over 150,000 customers across New York and New Jersey were still without power Sunday morning, five days after Tropical Storm Isaias barreled through the region on Tuesday.

Isaias brought heavy rains and powerful, damaging winds that toppled trees and power lines across the region.

Power companies have called Isaias one of the biggest outage producers in recent years. But some elected officials have criticized the utilities' preparedness and response.

The return of temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s after several days of mild weather has compounded concerns about those still in the dark.

New York outages

As of 9:00 p.m. Sunday, PSEG Long Island reported approximately 25,000 of the approximately 420,000 storm-affected customers were still without power.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said PSEG’s response had been unacceptable. She said she was opening cooling and charging stations in Hicksville, Wantagh and Valley Stream.

As of 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Con Edison reported over 46,625 customers still without power across New York. That's down from more than 53,700 customer outages Sunday morning and 69,880 Saturday evening.

Westchester County accounted for about 28,790 of Con Ed's outages Sunday afternoon.

In New York City, Queens remains the hardest hit as over 9,800 customers had no service Sunday afternoon. The Bronx had over 5,100 customers without service, while Staten Island reported more than 2,100 customers with no power. Just over 500 were affected in Brooklyn and only 67 customers without power in Manhattan, however, that number has not changed since Saturday morning.

A Con Ed official told PIX11 on Wednesday that about 260,000 of their customers lost power due to Isaias.

New York City's Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell said Con Ed expects to have power restored to 95% of affected customers by Sunday at 11 p.m.

"I get that this is a very frustrating situation and we're trying to get it done as fast as we can," Criswell said Saturday during a news conference in Queens.

Criswell said more trees were downed during the storm than the city anticipated and backup crews have been called in to help with response efforts.

Crews are prioritizing trees down on power lines and houses before they will move on to less life-threatening damage, Criswell added.

"They're very time consuming removals because of safety concerns,” she said of the downed trees, many of which are wrapped in power lines.

Con Ed is distributing dry ice on Sunday at three locations in the city and two in Westchester. The mobile information centers are open until 9 p.m.

NYC locations:

  • Queens: The Home Depot in Ozone Park, 11220 Rockaway Boulevard Park
  • Staten Island: The Staten Island Mall, 2655 Richmond Ave.
  • The Bronx: The Home Depot, 1806 East Gun Hill Rd.

Westchester locations:

  • The North Castle Community Park in Armonk, 205 Business Park Dr.
  • The Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers, 8000 Mall Walk

Con Ed is also offering reimbursement of more than $500 worth of food and medication for customers who lost power for more than 48 hours due to Tropical Storm Isaias.

North of the city, utility company Orange & Rockland reported 3,200 New York customers without power Sunday afternoon.

Out on Long Island, PSEG's outage map shows over 89,000 customers were without power Sunday afternoon — well down from about 182,500 at noon Saturday and 420,000 at its peak on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the utility said only 35,000 of the current outages are related to Isaias. It's unclear what the some-54,000 other outages are related to.

The PSEG spokesperson also noted that restoration is happening faster than what is being displayed on the map because a large number of out-of-area crews have been brought in to speed up the process.

New Jersey outages

More than 23,000 customers across New Jersey were still dealing with outages Sunday.

At its peak, there were 1.4 million households without power on Tuesday. By comparison, there were 1.7 million customer outages during Superstorm Sandy.

Utilities are still aiming to restore power to the remaining customers by the end of the weekend, according to Joe Fiordaliso, the president of the Board of Public Utilities.

"New Jersey got literally whacked and [Isaias] really left its mark throughout the entire state," Fiordaliso said on Wednesday.

Jersey City Power and Light reported over 13,800 customers still dealing with outages at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, down from over 26,000 Sunday morning and 94,500 Saturday morning. Monmouth and Morris counties continued to be the most affected.

PSE&G in New Jersey reported about 8,000 customers without power Sunday afternoon, according to the utility's outage map.

On Sunday morning, a PSE&G spokesperson said about 5,000 out of 10,000 remaining outages were related to Isaias and that the others happened after Tuesday's storm. It was not immediately clear how many of the some-2,000 restorations by Sunday afternoon were related to storm outages.

A PSE&G spokesperson told PIX11 that about 490,000 customers in New Jersey were without power after Isaias.

Orange & Rockland reported over 770 of its New Jersey customers were still without power Sunday afternoon.

Fiordaliso and Gov. Phil Murphy said earlier this week there were two main issues that slowed down restoration times in the Garden State.

First was that utility crews were unable to go out into the field on Tuesday during the height of the storm because the wind speeds were too high and made it too dangerous, Murphy said.

Additionally, the state power transmission system was damaged "considerably" during the storm, Fiordaliso said. Repairs needed to be made before utilities can restore power to distribution lines.

"So it’s going to take a little time," Fiordaliso said.

The state brought in 2,000 out-of-state crews to assist in the restoration process.

This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.