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Promises made as power outages persist

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
November 11, 2012 -- Updated 0220 GMT (1020 HKT)
U.S. Marines from the 8th Engineer Support Battallon out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, move a generator to pump out floodwater from a street after a nor'easter on Thursday, November 8, in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens, New York. The nor'easter, which dumped 2 feet of snow in some places, complicates Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts. That storm killed at least 111 people in the region and knocked out power to millions of customers. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/30/us/gallery/sandy-damage/index.html' target='_blank'>See photos of the aftermath of Sandy</a>. U.S. Marines from the 8th Engineer Support Battallon out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, move a generator to pump out floodwater from a street after a nor'easter on Thursday, November 8, in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens, New York. The nor'easter, which dumped 2 feet of snow in some places, complicates Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts. That storm killed at least 111 people in the region and knocked out power to millions of customers. See photos of the aftermath of Sandy.
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Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
Nor'easter brings snow to Sandy-hit areas
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Outages in New Jersey are down to 57,000 customers
  • Residents on Saturday are waiting for their power to be restored
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie promises results by Saturday night
  • Those on Long Island still in the dark about when power may be restored

(CNN) -- East Coast residents, some of whom have suffered without power for 12 days, waited Saturday for officials to come through on big promises to end the blackouts.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he expects power to be almost fully restored by the end of the day to the approximately 57,000 customers in his state living in the dark.

"Life will be back -- for most of New Jersey -- to normal come Sunday," he said Friday.

One week ago, more than 2.4 million customers were without power in 10 states and the District of Columbia following Superstorm Sandy. This week's nor'easter hampered some of the repairs.

Cleaning crews work in Manhattan's financial district following damage from Superstorm Sandy on Monday, November 12. View photos of New York's recovery. Cleaning crews work in Manhattan's financial district following damage from Superstorm Sandy on Monday, November 12. View photos of New York's recovery.
Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy
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Photos: Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy Photos: Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy
New Yorkers from Rockaway wait in line for gasoline on Tuesday, November 8 in the Rockaway area of Queens, New York. New Yorkers from Rockaway wait in line for gasoline on Tuesday, November 8 in the Rockaway area of Queens, New York.
New York town struggles to recover
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Photos: New York town struggles to recover Photos: New York town struggles to recover

By Saturday, about 225,000 customers remained without power in the region.

Photos: Finding beauty in the chaos

The majority of New Jersey's outages are the responsibility of Jersey Central Power & Light. The company's website backed Christie's prediction, with a map showing that most areas will have electricity restored by Saturday night.

Relief was not as certain next door on Long Island, where a majority -- 127,000 -- of customers remained in the dark.

Those homes are served by the Long Island Power Authority, a utility that has come under fire from residents and politicians alike.

High school football players help their fellow Sandy victims

Angry customers flooded the company's Facebook page with insults and stories of suffering a cold winter without power. One man redesigned the utility's logo to read "Lie-pa," as opposed to its usual acronym, LIPA.

LIPA officials stressed Saturday that getting people back online is the utility's top priority.

"We all want to get this wrapped up," said LIPA COO Mike Hervey. "We want to get the lights on as quickly as we possibly can."

More than 1 million customers have had their power restored, according to John Bruckner, president of Long Island Electric Transmission & Distribution Services for National Grid.

"We expect to restore 99% of the customers who lost and can safely accept power by the end of day Tuesday," Bruckner said.

Frustration mounts in New York neighborhood

On Friday, local and federal officials who stood to speak before residents in Oceanside, on Long Island, were met with boos and pointed questions about whether they had any power and how comfortable they were.

"What are you doing for us?" some in the crowd shouted.

Braving the boos, Kate Murray, presiding supervisor for the town of Hempstead, suggested residents ask themselves where the utility officials are.

"LIPA is the only entity that can turn on your electricity. Where are they?" she said. "They won't talk to us. We call them every day; they won't give us one answer."

Murray seemed to successfully shift the residents' cries against the politicians into chants of "Where is LIPA? Where is LIPA?"

"LIPA has absolutely abrogated all of its duties," she said. "They should be wiped off the face of the earth."

No one from the utility was present to address the anger. In a written statement, the company said it has more than 8,200 linemen and tree-trimming crews making progress.

"When possible, we will restore power to customers who have been without power for the longest time," the utility said in the statement. "Your safety and well-being remain our No. 1 priority and we thank you for your continued patience during this difficult time."

On Saturday, Bruckner acknowledged the frustration and said utility workers "will not stop" until power is restored to everyone.

Storm aid focuses on low-wage workers

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