NEW YORK CITY — With over half-a-million New Yorkers still without power and full restoration likely days away, Con Edison has hired hundreds of contractors and flown in additional help from as far away as California and Utah to repair its system.
On Wednesday, the second day after Hurricane Sandy crippled New York, Con Ed reported that 583,317 customers remained without power across the five boroughs.
Manhattan was still the worst affected area, with about 230,000 outages after 14-foot storm surges soaked facilities in the area and knocked out power.
Wednesday’s outages are down by roughly 150,000 from the day before as the electrical company scrambled to mend its systems.
The company predicted Tuesday that outages in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn served by facilities below ground to be repaired in four days.
Other areas that rely on above-ground facilities could take up to a week to be fully restored because fallen debris needs to be cleared before repairs can resume.
Because the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy is so extensive, Con Ed has had to hire 700 external contractors to help with repairs.
The company has also reached out to other electrical companies on the West Coast like San Francisco’s Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and maintenance crews in Salt Lake City, all of whom will lend some of their staff.
"We often send our East Coast crews to other places that are closer — this is unusual that we're getting crews from the West Coast," said Con Ed spokesman Allan Drury. “When you have a big storm that cuts a wide swath through the country, you can't get crews from that close.”
Companies in neighboring states that would normally help with repair efforts here are still fixing their own electrical systems, which are also badly ravaged, Drury said.
Hurricane Irene set Con Edison’s previous record for storm-related outages at 203,000, according to the company’s website. Hurricane Sandy beat that record three times over.