Middlesex and Mercer Counties Hardest Hit by Nor'easter Athena, says PSEG
The two central New Jersey counties had the highest impact from Wednesday's storm that brought heavy, wet snow and downed power lines to the area.
Middlesex and Mercer Counties took the brunt of Nor'easter Athena's heavy, sodden snow Wednesday, said Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G in a morning conference call.
LaRossa said he had had a meeting with mayors from the area in East Brunswick yesterday when a 69,000 volt line in the substation there blew but was quickly repaired.
As of Thursday morning, 40,000 PSE&G customers were impacted by up to six inches of snow from the nor'easter, while 70,000 customers were still suffering from the lack of electricity from Hurricane Sandy last week.
"We've been making fantastic progress," LaRossa said, pointing out that many of the linemen, including ones from states that have never seen snow in Athena quantities, kept working throughout yesterday's storm.
Even so, the deadline LaRossa had set for all customers to get their lights back on was changed from Friday to Saturday, mostly because of the nor'easter's damage to power lines.
"That set us back a little bit," LaRossa said, but the company was "starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel."
Winter Storm Athena hit Middlesex and Mercer counties the hardest, LaRossa said, and repair work in both counties slowed down the most from the storm.
In Middlesex County, 17,000 customers are still without power from Hurricane Sandy, down from 24,000 yesterday. Athena affected about 7,600 homeowners yesterday in Middlesex, he said.
A power outage that happened in Woodbridge before the really heavy snow from Athena started falling caused the lights to go out in several sections of the township, including Town Hall. The police station, which is in the basement of the building, was operating on a backup generator.
LaRossa said he didn't know of any particular problem with Woodbridge that was storm related. He said he believed that since most of the power loss happened before the brunt of Athena hit, that it was a question of power being turned off in circuits so they could be repaired and give electricity back to other customers, who have been without power since last week.
In Mercer County, about 3,500 customers experienced power outages from Athena Wednesday, while about 1,000 still haven't gotten their electricity back from last week's hurricane, LaRossa said.
Some Princeton Borough and Princeton Township residents may not have power, but it's all a matter of perspective, LaRossa said.
In Princeton Borough, 55 customers are without power, while in Princeton Township, 200 are waiting for the lights to go on.
"That's 99 percent and 96 percent restoration" respectively, LaRossa said of the borough and township customers.