More than 4,000 customers are still without power across the North Fork following the powerful pre-dawn thunderstorms that slammed Suffolk County today.
According to the utility’s online outage map, 1,418 customers in Riverhead Town and 2,755 customers in Southold Town remain without power as of 6 p.m.
The utility said its North Fork customers still without power, as well as 555 customers in Baiting Hollow won’t be restored until tomorrow morning.
PSEG-LI president and chief operating officer David Daly said tonight those outages — in some 1,000 “damage locations” — are “smaller and more time-consuming” to repair.
About 74,000 customers were initially affected by the “significant storm” that took down trees, branches and power lines across the area this morning, Daly said. Power has been restored to all but about 20,000 of the affected customers as of the 5:30 p.m. press briefing Daly held by conference call today.
“We are working on about half of those,” Daly said, “and we expect to have them restored by the end of the day today.” The other half — another 10,000 to 12,000 customers — would mostly be restored tomorrow, with “some spillover into Thursday” probable, Daly said.
“This storm packed a very strong, concentrated punch,” Daly said. The damage wasn’t so much limbs and branches, but “whole trees toppled over” and some “sheared off at the top.”
Restoration efforts required removal of “very large debris” which “makes the effort more complicated.”
Daly said PSEG-LI first concentrated on restoring power to critical customers such as hospitals. “All hopstials were restored early this afternoon,” Daly said during a 5:30 p.m. press briefing. “A series of other critical customers have also been restored.”
Crews from PSE&G in New Jersey and Con Edison are providing assistance with PSEG-LI’s restoration efforts, the utility said in a press release. Daly said the utility also called in contractors from the local area and beyond.
PSEG-LI will keep its Riverhead office until 9 p.m. today and will have charging stations, water and ice available for customers without power.