Power off after back-to-back storms — Who gets lights back on first?
TRENTON — The heavy, wet snow from Wednesday's nor'easter brought down more trees and wires across New Jersey, plunging hundreds of thousands into darkness.
The question remains as to when people should expect the power to come back on.
About 117,000 JCP&L customers lost power in Wednesday's storm. But the utility's priority is to first restore the 18,000 customers who were still without power nearly a week after the first nor'easter, JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano said.
"We know these customers are frustrated and upset because they're been out the longest and our efforts right now are focused on getting them back in service," Morano said.
Neither JCP&L nor PSE&G provided estimates of when power would be fully restored.
Morano said workers had to be pulled off the job for safety reasons as the weather got worse on Wednesday but they'll be back to work on Thursday.
"We've got 4,100 workers ready to go back to work as soon as we can," Morano said, adding that another 200 workers from out of the area will join them.
As of 11:55 a.m., more than 219,000 customers were without power across the state after a high of 338,000 on Wednesday afternoon.
- JCP&L: 132,243 customers throughout its service area;
- PSE&G: 75,290 customers, mostly in Burlington, Essex, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset, and Union counties;
- Atlantic City Electric: 11,647 customers, mostly in Burlington and Camden counties.
PSE&G spokeswoman Karen Johnson said her utility's crews worked all night but the restoration will take several days.
"The utility is mobilizing additional employees to help with damage assessment so that it can better determine restoration times. We ask our customers to be patient as we deal with these difficult conditions and work to safely restore power."
Both utilities cautioned against warned about touching fallen wires. Johnson said they should always be considered “live.”
Johnson said that carbon monoxide is a concern and said not to run any gasoline powered engine, including generators and snow blowers, in a garage or enclosed space. She also suggested clearing snow from dryer and hot water heater vents.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday spoke to JCP&L workers at their staging area at County College of Morris County in Denville.
"I just want to say on behalf of everybody in New Jersey and everyone around the state — thank you very much for your hard work and everything you're doing for us and I hope down the road if something hits where you live we can return the favor," Murphy said.