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‘Our Luck Ran Out’: Isaias Leaves Close to 1M in NJ Without Electricity

Tropical Storm Isaias left 1.4 million in the Garden State without electricity at its peak yesterday, as it damaged both power company distribution lines and the transmission system itself, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph L. Fiordaliso said at today’s state press conference, adding that, by comparison, 2012’s Superstorm Sandy left 1.7 million without power at its peak.

“[Tropical Storm Isaias] just came through the entire state of New Jersey, thank goodness at a more rapid pace than [Superstorm Sandy],” he said. “But we still have devastating damage, and New Jersey is probably one of the hardest-hit states from this particular storm.”

He said that approximately 977,000 New Jerseyans remain without power today, but he hopes that 80% of those will be restored by late Friday night; the remaining 20% are “isolated cases” that may require additional time. Fiordaliso said some customers might not have their power restored until the end of the weekend.

“Our luck ran out,” Fiordaliso added. “I was so thrilled – and I know the governor was – that our winter was relatively mild and there were no major snowstorms. But, I think they got back at us.”

More than 2,000 out-of-state power company workers are traveling to New Jersey to make repairs, he said.

Gov. Phil Murphy said, “We know that there are out-of-state crews both already in New Jersey and on their way to New Jersey to provide additional assistance, and, as always, we are grateful to them as they travel. [However], it also raises another challenge, and that is: We are fighting a pandemic, so the notion of essential, out-of-state travel we have to allow for…”

Murphy added that there have been discussions with out-of-state providers regarding what their protocols are surrounding cohorting, for example.

Public Health Update

New Jersey’s carefully-watched coronavirus rate of transmission stands at 1.32, Murphy said today, and there are 784 coronavirus-related hospitalizations. Eight new deaths were reported for a total of 13,989 fatalities since the pandemic began, in addition to 1,853 “probable deaths” where, for example, a COVID-19 test was never administered.

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