UPDATE: As of 4:30 p.m., 490,000 PECO customers in the area were still without power, and the utility company said it could take a week before power is fully restored.
PECO said Hurricane Sandy knocked out power for approximately 815,000 customers, easily shattering the previous record of 520,000 homes affected during a January 1994 ice storm. Power has already been restored to hundreds of thousands of customers, but utility crews are being challenged by the conditions.
"Based on what we’ve been able to do and what we’ve seen and assessed in terms of damage to our system, we are expecting that it could take up to a week to do all the needed repairs to restore power to all of our customers," said PECO spokeswoman Liz Williamson. "We are going to continue working 24/7, nonstop until service is safely restored to everyone."
More than 2,000 field personnel are working to repair damage from the wind and fallen trees that have knocked down or contacted many wires in the region, Williamson said. That includes crews from Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Con Edison in Chicago.
The county-by-county breakdown of outages is as follows: 65,000 in Philadelphia; 180,000 in Bucks; 45,000 in Chester; 50,000 in Delaware; 145,000 in Montgomery; and 1,000 in York County.