UPDATE 3-Utilities feel heat as 1.9 mln still dark after Sandy

Mon Nov 5, 2012 1:55am GMT

* Nearly 1 mln in N.J., 650,000 in N.Y. still without power

* Attention shifts to labor-intensive outages

* "Nor'easter" threatens recovery efforts

By Cezary Podkul

NEW YORK, Nov 4 (Reuters) - About 1.9 million homes and businesses remained in the dark on Sunday as pressure mounted on power companies to restore electricity to areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy nearly a week ago.

In New York, utilities came under increasing calls to restore heat and light to some 650,000 customers. More than half of those were served by the Long Island Power Authority, which was singled out for criticism by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In New Jersey, about a quarter of the state remained without power.

After a peak of 8.5 million customers without power across 21 states affected by the massive storm, the rate of restoring power each day has slowed as line crews face increasingly difficult and isolated outages.

By Sunday afternoon, 640,000 customers had been switched back on in the last 24 hours, down from about 1 million who had power restored a day earlier.   Continued...

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