Electric Utilities Slammed by Sandy (FE, POM, ED, NU, ETR)
An estimated 10 million customers could lose electrical power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, nearly a third more than the 7 million who lost power last year following Hurricane Irene. For utility companies serving the storm-shattered region the costs associated with restoring downed lines, blown transformers and grid services are likely to pile up pretty fast.
In hard-hit New Jersey, PSE&G reports that 1.2 million customers were affected by the storm. Jersey Central Power & Light, a FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) company, reported that more than 900,000 customers have lost power. Atlantic City Electric, a Pepco Holdings Inc. (NYSE: POM) reports 188,000 outages this morning. That is about 2.33 million customers without power in New Jersey.
In New York City, Consolidated Edison Inc. (NYSE: ED) reported 1.9 million customers without power, including much of lower Manhattan, including Wall St. Long Island Power Authority reported more than 900,000 customers without service and warned customers to be prepared for an outage lasting 7 to 10 days.
In southeastern Pennsylvania, more than 600,000 customers lost power. PECO, a subsidiary of Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC), reports that 585,000 customers are currently waiting for power to be restored.
In Connecticut, some 1.4 million customers are without power, more than a third of the state’s population. Connecticut Light & Power, a Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU) subsidiary, reported that about 477,000 of its customers were affected.
If there is a bit of good news to be found, it is that the region’s nuclear power plants appear to have weathered the storm without incident. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that all nukes in the storm’s path have flood protection above the predicted storm surge and that critical systems are housed in watertight buildings that can withstand hurricane force winds and flooding.
Exelon’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey was already off-line for refueling when the storm hit. Entergy Corp.’s (NYSE: ETR) shut down a unit of its Indian Point plant in New York due to grid issues and at Constellation Energy’s Nine Mile Point plant, one reactor was also shut down due to issues with putting power on the grid.