(Reuters) - The New York State-owned Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) expects to restore power by the end of Tuesday to most of the remaining 75,000 homes and businesses still without service two weeks after Hurricane Sandy battered the region.
Other hard-hit utilities in the area - Consolidated Edison Inc in New York and units of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc and FirstEnergy Corp in New Jersey - restored service to almost all customers over the weekend.
Sandy left about 8.5 million electric customers without service in 21 states after hitting the New Jersey coast on October 29.
Sandy hit LIPA harder than any other power company, knocking out more than 1 million of its 1.1 million customers, while a nor‘easter last week knocked out 123,000 more customers - thousands of whom had had their power restored after Sandy.
Combined, Sandy and the nor‘easter knocked out more homes and businesses on Long Island than LIPA has customers.
Despite the hard hit, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has attacked all of the affected New York power companies, and especially LIPA, for the slow pace of restoration.
LIPA, meanwhile, said it could not restore power to about 17,500 homes and businesses in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island and 37,500 in the Rockaways in New York City because severe flooding from Sandy damaged electrical panels, wires, outlets and appliances, making it unsafe to restore service.
The utility said these property owners must hire a licensed electrician to repair the water damage and produce an electrical inspection certificate before it can restore power.
LIPA said it had completed surveys of water damaged homes and businesses in the flooded areas of Suffolk County, and expected to complete the surveys in Nassau County on Monday. The surveys are to determine whether the flooding damaged the home or business.
In the Rockaways, LIPA said it was working with New York City on the survey and that process was ongoing. The company did not say when it would complete the Rockaways’ surveys.
Reporting By Scott DiSavino; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid