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Utilities: Almost All Power Will Be Restored Friday

The last few thousands of customers without power due to Tropical Storm Irene should have it back soon.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, fewer than 17,000 homes and businesses were still waiting to get their service restored.

NStar said it hopes to restore full service by 10 p.m. Friday. National Grid tweeted that it estimates it'll have 98 percent of outages restored Friday, with full restoration completed by Sunday "where damage was extensive."

"We have 97 percent of our total Massachusetts customers back now," said National Grid spokeswoman Amy Zorich. "We hope to have more of that back even into this evening."

More than 500,000 customers statewide lost power during when Irene hit last Sunday.

The utilities have been subject to intense criticism from politicians and homeowners who say their response times were slow and their outreach efforts to customers poor.

The companies have responded by saying Irene was an unusual weather event and their crews have been working around the clock to restore power.

Zorich says National Grid is ready to review its storm performance.

"Every storm is a learning experience for us and we take something away from every storm," she said. "We do think we've done a good job with this but obviously there is always something that you can do differently, and we'll be looking for those lessons learned moving forward."

With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press

This program aired on September 2, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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