The Long Island Power Authority says it expects 95 percent of customers to have power restored by the end of the week, as nearly 400,000 remained in the dark on Monday.
"Based on initial estimates, we expect that most of the large area outages will have power restored by Friday with some lingering localized small outages going into the weekend or early next week," LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey said at a press briefing in Hicksville.
The utility revised the total number of those who lost power as a result of Hurricane Irene upward to 523,000 customers and said about 24 percent -- or 125,000 -- have their power back.
That leaves about 398,000 irked customers without power as of Monday morning, and Hervey hopes most of them will get electricty back sooner rather than later.
"This is not something where the last day we're going to be looking to be putting on very, very large blocks of customers," Hervey said. "We will have a very successful day I'm sure and the numbers will dwindle over the next couple of days."
The company reported that it expects to finish initial damage asssesments on Monday and that 2,271 workers and contractors are on the restoration job.
"Unlike yesterday we have a full 16 hours of daylight to work and we expect to make good progress," said John Bruckner of National Grid.
LIPA also announced Monday that it closed customer centers and suspended billing and collection calls to help get extra manpower for power restoration.
While the cost of cleanup will run into the millions, Hervey said he was "going to stay focussed on restoration" and could not yet put a total price tag on the cleanup or address the issue of reimbursing customers for their power loss.
"We haven't had time to look at the business ramifications of this yet," he said.
While some customers are still having trouble getting through to report power outages, Hervey again requested they keep trying.
LIPA was hoping an increase in manpower might speed up restoration.
"We'd like to do better," Hervey said. "We have a request for more linemen and to the extent we can get more linemen on Long Island we're going to move that [power restoration] timetable up."