About two-thirds of Irene power outages are fixed

CHRIS KAHN - AP Energy Writer
August 30, 2011
About 85 Progress Energy workers work in the field in Alliance, N.C. trying to restore the power in the region east of New Bern, N.C.  Monday, Aug.29, 2011. Thousands were still without power in eastern North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Irene. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Takaaki Iwabu) MANDATORY CREDIT
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About 85 Progress Energy workers work in the field in Alliance, N.C. trying to restore the power in the region east of New Bern, N.C. Monday, Aug.29, 2011. Thousands were still without power in eastern North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Irene. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Takaaki Iwabu) MANDATORY CREDIT

NEW YORK (AP) — Neighborhood by neighborhood, the lights are kicking back on.

Utilities reported significant progress Tuesday on widespread power outages that followed Hurricane Irene. About 73 percent of the weekend's 9.4 million outages have been restored, according to an Associated Press tally.

Thousands of repair crews are still working through a tangle of uprooted trees and floodwaters in 13 states that were raked by Irene over the weekend. The storm ripped out power lines, flooded electrical substations and crushed critical circuits that each bring power to thousands of people.

Irene led to the deaths of at least 38 people in 11 states.

Entire communities are still waiting for power. Eastham, Mass., on Cape Cod is still mostly in the dark. In Wakefield, N.H., 70 percent of the town's customers are off the grid. And nearly half of the 491,000 homes and businesses in the Richmond, Va., metro area are blacked out.

Power companies say their first priority is to reconnect hospitals, police stations, emergency call centers and other critical services. After that they'll try to get schools back online in time for the fall semester. Individual neighborhoods and homes will be next on the list.

Most of the restoration work should be complete by the middle of the week. However, some power companies say it could take weeks to get the lights back on for everyone.

PECO, which serves southern Pennsylvania, said that 90 percent of its power outages will be fixed by Wednesday.

In Washington D.C., Pepco Holdings Inc. said it will complete most repairs by Thursday. Baltimore Gas & Electric, Long Island Power Authority in New York and Dominion Resources in Virginia said most of their outages should restored by Friday.