TEANECK, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) — It’s been a long six days in the dark for thousands of people in New Jersey, but on Friday night the situation was much improved.
On its website, PSE&G posted “We appreciate your patience,” while declaring that it had “safely restored power to more than 95 percent of affected customers.” About 3,000 PSE&G outages remained in Essex, Bergen and Passaic counties.
JCP&L said it should be able to restore power to nearly 5,300 customers at some point Friday night.
Governor Chris Christie announced that state damage assessments conducted by the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management in coordination with FEMA will be begin on Monday.
The assessments will take place starting in Bergen, Essex, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union, Sussex and Warren counties.
Authorities also believe an elderly New Jersey couple found dead hours before electricity was restored to their rural home died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
A utility worker and a relative found the bodies of 84-year-old Robert Stephens and his 79-year-old wife, Susanna Stephens, on Thursday evening in Milford.
Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns III said it appears to be a tragic accident. Family members told police the two were vibrant and healthy, and had been in touch with relatives throughout the storm.
Kearns said autopsies are pending, but preliminary findings indicate the couple succumbed to fumes likely from a gasoline electrical generator found in their enclosed garage. The family’s cat and dog were removed from the home alive.
Six deaths in New Jersey are now linked to the October storm.
It’s been a long week for thousands of people without power.
PSE&G also got some help from utility crews from other states, including Georgia, Indiana and Michigan, but Mark Snodgrass’ crew isn’t leaving just yet.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports
“No not yet,” Snodgress said. “We’re going to wait until we get everyone restored.”
He and his crew are from Washington D.C. and have been in New Jersey since Monday.
“Just long hours,” he said. “We’re slowly making progress the best we can.”
He said he’s had to deal with from frustrated customers, but understands they’ve been in the dark for days.
In New York, Con Edison is reporting a small number of customers without power, mostly in Westchester.
Some Rockland officials are calling for a state investigation because a number of Orange & Rockland Utilities customers were still in the dark. Now, elected officials are demanding answers.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports
Generators hummed for a sixth day in Joe Hannas’ New City neighborhood.
“Haven’t shaved in a week, it’s very hard,” he said. “I have to get up in the middle of the night, give my wife an injection and this is really a catastrophe.”
“We have first class rates and third-world service, so I can understand the anger that’s out there,” said Ramapo Councilman Daniel Freedman. “But I want to take that anger and I want to funnel directly to the state. We have to go to Albany. We have to make these kind of changes.”
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams In Union County
With a smile and a sigh, many in Summit, N.J., eagerly told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams on Friday morning that the ordeal was over and that their lights were flickering on last night.
That was not the case with councilman Mike Vernotico, who has been getting help from neighbors.
“People have been great. The citizens have been great. JCP&L, as usual, has been a huge disappointment. After Irene, we thought… that… improvements would be made, but there have been no improvements. So, I’m hoping that the governor will take charge and demand that they have emergency plans so that we never have to go through this again,” Vernotico told Adams.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall: Now It’s LIPA’s Turn
When Hurricane Irene hit Long Island a few months back, crews from as far away as Indiana came to help the Long Island Power Authority turn the lights back on to hundreds of thousands of customers.
Now it was LIPA’s turn to travel.
A spokesperson for the utility told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall that hundreds of workers traveled to Westchester County, New York City, Massachusetts to help crews in those locations deal with the massive outages caused by the freak October snowstorm.
WCBS 880’s Levon Putney: NJ Schools In A Tough Spot
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