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Over 150,000 still without power in NY, NJ days after Isaias hit tri-state region

Downed power line
Posted at 9:34 AM, Aug 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-08 22:15:52-04

NEW YORK — Over 150,000 customers across New York and New Jersey were still without power Saturday afternoon, four 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.

New York outages

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, Con Edison reported over 69,880 customers still without power across New York. That's down from more than 84,800 customer outages Saturday morning.

Westchester County accounted for over 46,200 of Con Ed's outages Saturday afternoon.

In New York City, Queens remains the hardest hit as over 15,200 customers had no service Saturday afternoon. The Bronx had over 9,000 customers without service, while Staten Island reported 2,300 customers with no power. Just over 1,300 were affected in Brooklyn and only 67 customers without power in Manhattan.

A Con Ed official told PIX11 on Wednesday that about 260,000 of their customers lost power due to Isaias and warned it could be days before some areas see power restored.

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 Saturday at four locations in the city and two in Westchester. The mobile information centers are open until 9 p.m.

NYC locations:

  • Queens: The George Seuffert Bandshell parking lot, 19 Forest Park Dr.
  • Queens: The Home Depot, 11220 Rockaway Boulevard Park
  • Staten Island: The Staten Island Mall, 2655 Richmond Ave.
  • Bronx: The Home Depot, 1806 East Gun Hill Rr.

Westchester locations:

  • The Yorktown Green Shopping Center, 355 Downing Dr.
  • New Rochelle City Hall, 515 North Ave.

Con Ed has also extended their deadline for reimbursement claims to 48 hours after Isaias hit.

Out on Long Island, over 16,600 customers were still in the dark at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, though PSEG's outage map claims over 120,000 are without power — that's well down from about 182,500 at noon and more than 195,100 at 9 a.m., according to data from PSEG.

North of the city, utility company Orange & Rockland reported 6,900 New York customers without power Saturday afternoon.

New Jersey outages

Around 92,227 customers across New Jersey were still dealing with outages Saturday evening.

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 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 56,300 customers still dealing with outages at 2:35 p.m. Saturday, down from over 81,600 around noon and 94,500 around 9 a.m. Monmouth and Morris counties continued to be the most affected.

JCP&L spokesperson Clifford Cole told PIX11 crews have been working hard to restore power and hope to get it done sooner than later.

PSE&G in New Jersey reported more than 35,920 customers without service as of 5 p.m. Saturday, down from about 40,000 around 9 a.m.

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

Orange & Rockland reported over 7,400 of its New Jersey customers were still without power Saturday afternoon, with over 5,800 of those located in Bergen County.

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.