For many waking up this morning, it was not a white Christmas. It was a dark one.
Heavy storms dragged trees and utility lines overnight with high wind gusts at one point powering more than 100,000 utility customers in New Jersey.
By mid-morning, more than 87,300 homes and businesses still had no lights and were covered with damage so extensive and so many individual lines, that utility officials warned it could take days to bring them all back.
The route of the storm was widespread from Gloucester to Bergen County. Down south wires in South Brunswick closed the normally busy Route 1 in both directions. Trees in Teaneck were reported throughout the city, with more than 2,500 customers without power until 9am
The public service electric and gas company, the largest utility in the state, still had 13,000 of its 2.3 million customers without service at 10:30 a.m., more than half of them in Bergen County.
“PSE & G employees have waived holiday holidays and are working safely and as quickly as possible to restore power to customers without electricity,” said spokesman Michael Jennings, noting that the lineman, The focus is on more than 1,500 employees, including contractors and tree crew. Shakti is getting back. “We are relocating crew to Bergen and Hudson County to expedite restoration efforts.”
Ohio-based FirstEnergy, the parent company of the Jersey Central Power and Light Company, was reporting in mid-morning that more than 35,000 of its 1.1 million customers were without service. JCP & L supplies power to Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Pesic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties.
Mark Durbin, spokesman for FirstEnergy, said, “The challenge today is with Christmas, and being a widespread weather event, there is not a lot of other utilities capable of providing mutual support.” “Our crew is out and will continue to work.”
He said he could not provide any estimates for the restoration, but that there would likely be customers without electricity on Christmas day, due to the massive tree damage throughout the area.
By mid-morning, the utility reported that its employees had restored power to about 75,000 customers, and continued to work around the clock to restore service to the remaining customers. More than half of those outages were located in Monmouth County.
JCP&L has been in the fire in the past for the slow pace of restoring service after repeated severe weather strikes, and even at Christmas customers were repeatedly asking what happened for so long Happening.
The company said that after a storm there are typically hundreds, even thousands, of damage locations that line employees must address. It said its main priority is to reduce hazards – such as power lines, downed trees and equipment blocking roads – and then assess the damage so that line crews can reach the site of an outage and begin repairs.
Orange & Rockland Utilities, which serves more than 72,000 New Jersey customers in Bergen, Passaic and Sussex counties, about 4,000 of them were still reporting out of service on Christmas morning – mostly in Bergen.
A spokesperson for the company said that more than 140 additional personnel from the company and contractor lineman, tree removal crew and other utilities worked to restore power to around 20,000 people on Christmas Eve, which caused heavy rain and strong winds Lost his power.
The mutual support team received by O&R doubled the company’s emergency response resources.
“The company called back employees for vacation and vacation days for hurricane work,” said the spokesman, Mike Donovan, who was among those called back from vacation.
The Atlantic City Electric Company, which serves the southern end of the state, said restoration efforts could take days. 7,400 of the company’s 546,000 customers were without electricity until 10:30 am
“The storm caused extensive damage to our service area, uprooting trees and toppling power lines and damaging electrical equipment,” said Atlantic Electric spokesman Frank Tedesco. “While the storm caused damage and damage throughout our entire service area, most of the outages are located in Atlantic, Gloucester and Salem counties, where we saw some pockets of high winds.”
He said teams of Atlantic City Electric, outside contractors and mutual aid utility employees – some from as far as Florida – are working to restore service.
“An important part of the work remains to repair the damage and customers must be prepared for the multi-day restoration effort,” Tedesco said. “We expect to restore the vast majority of customers today, although some customers are expected to be affected over the weekend.”
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