Gov. Fires Back At Reporter When Asked About 'Disaster Ready Sub Stations'

SOMERSET, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday’s nor’easter only caused a slight setback to the recovery efforts from Superstorm Sandy, adding he expects power to be restored to almost everyone in the state by this weekend.

PSE&G said about 70,000 of its customers are still without power from Sandy last week. Around 45,000 more customers are without electricity from the Wednesday’s nor’easter, the company said.

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Statewide, about 390,000 customers were without power early Thursday. More than 150,000 outages were caused by the nor’easter.

“Some people did experience power outages as a result of the snow and wind from yesterday which has set us back slightly from our progress the day before,” Christie said at a news conference on Thursday. “But I really believe that with the exception of a few outliers in some very difficult areas, like some of the barrier island towns — especially the ones between Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights — with the exception of those, I think that most people will have power by Saturday.”

Christie praised the work of the utilities companies and their crews, who he said have been working 16-hour days since Sandy struck.

Of Jersey Central Power & Light’s performance, Christie said it has been “significantly better” than it was during Tropical Storm Irene.

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But some moments during Thursday’s news conference turned tense when Christie was asked by a reporter if the state should put pressure on the utilities to get sub stations more disaster ready.

“Do you understand how this works when you ask a question like that? Do you understand how it works?” Christie fired back at the reporter. “Disaster ready sub stations — what’s your suggestion?”

When asked about providing housing for those displaced by Sandy, Christie said there is no quick fix.

“I can’t build apartments right now, in the next week. So we’re going to get them as close to their homes as we can get them,” he said. “But I can’t wave a magic wand and create housing.”

He also warned against people trying to make villains out of anyone in the wake of the disaster.

“We’re now in that stage where we’re no longer pulling dead bodies out of buildings so now people are looking to create villains for political advantage,” he said. “The villain in this case is Hurricane Sandy.”

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