HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday afternoon that he was working hard to get power back to everyone in the state as soon as possible, and that the state was preparing for a Nor’easter coming later in the week, even though it would “obviously be a huge pain.”
Christie said at a news conference Sunday that he has seen people working together to provide for others everywhere he has traveled throughout the state.
“This is a symbol of New Jersey coming together during a really difficult time,” he said. “A week ago today, we were preparing for the storm to come tomorrow, and now, we’re returning to a new normal.”
As of Sunday afternoon, fewer than 1 million New Jersey residents were without power, compared with 2.7 million at the height of the storm. Christie called the change “substantial progress.”
But Christie said those without power were sure to disagree.
“I know that when I tell you we’re under a million people without power from 2.7, that doesn’t mean a damn thing to you unless your power is on,” he said. “So we will not stop working until everybody has
He said he would be leaning on utility companies and using “subtle, gentle persuasion” to urge them to restore power as soon as possible.
On Saturday, Christie released revised power restoration plans from the three major utility companies. PSE&G, JCPL and Atlantic City Electric have submitted restoration plans at the municipal level for the next two days in order to provide the best information possible to New Jersey homes and businesses.
As of Sunday, Atlantic City Electric had 98 percent of its power customers restored, followed by PSE&G with 78 percent, JCPE with 75 percent, and Orange & Rockland with just 61 percent.
“I got a special call to (Orange & Rockland) this afternoon,” Christie said. “Sixty-one percent is not acceptable.”
Meanwhile, Christie emphasized that New Jersey is not suffering from a fuel shortage.
“What happened was when power went out to refineries, and power went out to pipelines, they couldn’t move the gas,” Christie said. “The gas is there.”
Power has since been restored to all refineries and pipelines, he said.
Also, President Barack Obama has ordered 22 million gallons of gasoline to be split between New York and New Jersey. The gasoline has been shipped to specific service stations, the governor said.
Christie discouraged people from topping off their tank over fears of a gas shortage, but he said he couldn’t mandate it.
“You can’t legislate selfishness,” he said.
A Web site has been set up for New Jersey residents has been set up, Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, told WCBS 880. That Web site is sandynjrelieffund.org.
Anyone who lost his or her job as a result of Superstorm Sandy can also get online for help through a disaster unemployment pay system. That can be found at NJUIFile.net, Christie said.
As for the Nor’easter forecast for next week, Christie said it could bring winds of 50 mph and 2 to 3 inches of rain.
“That would obviously be a huge pain,” he said, but the state is preparing.
Christie also addressed questions about whether his kind words to President Obama in the wake of the storm meant anything as to political endorsements.
Christie emphasized that he was still endorsing Republican Mitt Romney for president, but “it doesn’t mean we can’t work together.”