Utilities are preparing for what could be the worst power outage in years as Hurricane Sandy cut power to more than 8.2 million across the East as of 2 p.m. EDT on Oct. 30, according to the Department of Energy.
As many as 60 million people could be affected by power outages, heavy rain and storm surges and public transit shutting down, and utilities expect $55 billion in economic damages, reports Demand Response News.
Businesses and residents in lower Manhattan faced up to four days without power after an Oct. 29 explosion at a Consolidated Edison power station squashed the New York City electricity provider’s plans for controlled shutdowns, according to The Yeshiva World.
A Con Edison spokeswoman told the newspaper that this is the largest storm-related outage in the utility’s history. She said as of 2 p.m. EDT Oct. 30, some 250,000 homes and businesses in Manhattan were without power, more than the total outages in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx combined.
Con Edison said it expected to restore power to customers served by underground electric equipment within four days.
Meanwhile, Long Island Power Authority, National Grid, Public Service Electric & Gas Company, and Jersey Central Power & Light have notified their customers to expect outages that could last up to 10 days, Demand Response News reports.
As of Tuesday night, the number of power outages in New Jersey had dropped to slightly less than 2.3 million, compared to about 2.7 million during the height of the storm, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
New Jersey’s largest utility, Public Service Electric & Gas, said 1.1 million of its residential and business customers didn’t have electricity, down from 1.4 million, and restoration could take seven or more days, according to the newspaper.
The storm also slowed or shut down a half-dozen nuclear plants, and put Exelon’s 43-year-old Oyster Creek plant in New Jersey on “alert” status, Reuters reports. High waters threatened a key cooling system at the facility, which is the nation’s oldest plant.
As Hurricane Sandy moved inland, Entergy’s Indian Point Energy Center and James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in New York, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts and Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vermont said they had weathered the storm.
Entergy said Indian Point 2, FitzPatrick and Pilgrim remained at full power while Vermont Yankee reduced power to 88 percent at the request of ISO New England to help maintain grid stability. Indian Point 3 automatically shut down at 10:41 p.m. Monday as a result of an electrical grid disturbance.