Power appears to be returning to residents in Manchester and Lakehurst, slowly.
Data from JCP&L shows that 16,822 of the electric utility's 25,507 customers in Manchester have power, over two days after Hurricane Sandy struck. That's about 1,000 more than had power on Tuesday night. In Lakehurst, 680 customers are reported to be without power, down from 768 on Tuesday night.
The utility company said in a release Wednesday that it has restored power to nearly 160,000, or about 20 percent, of its customers and expects to have the majority of customers restored within the next seven days.
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It could take up to two weeks for customers in the hardest-hit areas to regain power, the company said.
JCP&L reported 940,999 of its nearly 1.1 million customers remained in the dark as of Wednesday night, according to its outage map. The number includes 264,061 in Monmouth; 202,655 in Ocean; 73,388 in Middlesex; 23,880 in Union; and 16,442 in Mercer.
"The damage from Hurricane Sandy far exceeds what we saw from Hurricane Irene or the October 2011 snowstorm," said JCP&L President Don Lynch in a release. "While we were better prepared for Hurricane Sandy, the damage rivals that experienced during Hurricane Katrina, one of our nation’s most devastating and expensive hurricanes."
The Lakehurst Volunteer Fire Company invited residents to its headquarters Wednesday night to recharge cell phones, take a warm shower and have some coffee. Turnout was light, as fire officials said it was difficult to alert residents to the event since the reverse 9-1-1 system currently does not work.
Manchester and Lakehurst schools are closed through the rest of the week.
Lakehurst Borough Hall is open; Manchester Municipal Complex is expected to reopen on Thursday.