More than half of the power outages from Hurricane Irene have been fixed.
Utilities along the Eastern Seaboard reported Tuesday that about three million customers remain in the dark, down from a peak of more than eight million.
Thousands of repair crews are still combing 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 bring power to thousands of people.
The storm 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 cut off. 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.
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