Many Still Without Power As New Jersey Recovers

Robert Siegel talks to Nancy Solomon about how New Jersey is recovering from superstorm Sandy.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Across New Jersey, nearly two million homes and businesses still lack power. Many gas stations are closed and those that are open have either run out of gas or have long lines. Emergency service centers are beginning to put together plans for distributing food and water.

And for more on how New Jersey is faring, Nancy Solomon of New Jersey Public Radio now joins us. Nancy, we just heard about Hoboken. Beyond that, what can you tell us about the state of things? Do other areas in New Jersey remain flooded?

NANCY SOLOMON, BYLINE: Yes. I think a lot of people got a pretty good view yesterday of the shoreline and the devastation there with the visit by President Obama. But there are still so many places in New Jersey, not that they're still under water, they're pumping out, but they're just so badly damaged. And so we have all these communities around various bays and rivers that just got hammered. They got like eight feet of water in their houses.

Some of their houses are destroyed. Some are going to need major repairs. All over the state, trees were blown down and, you know, some houses were crushed, others, of course, it's just the power lines, but it's, you know, roads have been closed. It's a huge mess. Several riverside communities, Jersey City, you heard about Hoboken, but the communities along the Hackensack, the Passaic River, the Raritan River, these are, you know, traditional middle-class suburban communities all across the state that have just really been badly, badly damaged.

New Jersey transit, statewide transit system with commuter rail into New York City, completely out. I mean, now the buses have started up, but they're not even saying when we'll have rail service into New York or around New Jersey.

SIEGEL: Nancy, what are the utility companies saying about when they might restore power?

SOLOMON: They've added crews, they say, and they've contracted with private contractors to bolster what they're doing. And they're trying to restore power, they say, as quickly as possible. In northern New Jersey, the utility is saying it'll be a week to 10 days. In central and southern Jersey, Jersey Central Power and Light was heavily criticized after Hurricane Irene. They say they'll have power restored to most of its customers by next Wednesday.

And it's interesting to note, I mean, Newark had 95 percent of its customers without power after the storm. Some of those folks have their power back, but a lot of them don't.

SIEGEL: OK. Thank you, Nancy. That's Nancy Solomon, managing editor of New Jersey Public Radio.

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