A week-and-a-half after Superstorm Sandy, more than 740,000 customers in the Northeast still don't have power. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for an investigation claiming some of the utilities are badly managed and were not prepared. Some utilities are not able to offer a firm date when power will be restored.
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Hundreds of thousands of customers in the Northeast still don't have power after being pounded by Sandy. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for an investigation, claiming some of the utilities were not prepared. A snow storm this week has made the situation worse. NPR's Jeff Brady reports from Brick Township on the New Jersey shore.
JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: In front of Eric Lehnes' house is a rusty red dumpster - not the size you find in an alley. It's one of those big dumpsters that sits on the back of a truck, and it's brimming with muddy debris.
ERIC LEHNES: You can see right there, that's a corner of my hot tub that we had to cut up with a Sawzall to remove. And most of what has filled that is actually other people's stuff that floated onto my yard and beach.
BRADY: Down the street, a power line is dangling. Cars slowly navigate around it - not that it matters. There's no electricity here. Lehnes says the local utility has no firm estimate for when it will be restored thanks in part to the Nor'easter snow storm that blew through here.
LEHNES: After all the trees and all the power lines were weakened by the hurricane, now you put this tremendously heavy, wet snow on top of some of the weakest trees we've ever had.
BRADY: And that's leaving even more of his community in the dark. Lehnes called electrician Pat Salsano to connect a gas generator to his house.
PAT SALSANO: ...and then we'll do what we have to do to connect it to the panel, just to get him up and running.
BRADY: Salsano is in the garage, stripping wires he pulls off a wooden spool. Then a few minutes later...
(SOUNDBITE OF GENERATOR STARTING)
BRADY: Salsano switches a breaker back in the garage, and the lights are on, and so is the heat.
SALSANO: I've been getting a lot of hugs and kisses from the neighborhood wives, because I got their heat on, believe me.
BRADY: Salsano says this is pretty much his life these days, going from house-to-house, temporarily hooking up generators as utility crews move across the state repairing the many downed lines.
Jeff Brady, NPR News, Brick Township, New Jersey. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.