By Chelsea Priest
WESTERLY, R.I. - Thousands of Westerly residents are still waiting for the lights to come back on, after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power to tens of thousands in Washington County.
"The underside of the house got completely wiped out, you know the electric panel, electric water heaters," Said Westerly Resident Nancy Bradshaw. She is still waiting for her electrical power to be restored.
External contractors have come in from all over the country to assist in cleaning up Sandy's aftermath, some coming from as far as California to help restore power in Southern New England.
A little under 300 external contractors that are here working in the state. Many of them were working in MA prior to today and we've moved them into RI because it was the heaviest hit area.
Kathy Lyford of New England Electric Operations says she is confident that with local crews and external contractors working together to restore power and other necessities, that many will have power restored by the weekend of November 3.
"A little under 300 external contractors are here working in the state. Many of them were working in Massachusetts prior to Friday, and we've moved them into Rhode Island because it was the heaviest hit area," Lyford said. "Predominately, most of our customers will be back Friday in Rhode Island and we may have a few scattered services that we will have to go after Saturday".
But for those who were hit the hardest by Sandy, like Nancy Bradshaw in Westerly, water damage to the actual electrical box in their houses may cause a longer delay in restored electricity. "There is too much damage to analyze what's going on here, because the electricity one water, the salt water gets involved with it, it starts oxidizing and becomes unsafe," Bradshaw said.
Private electricians were finally able to access the badly hit areas on Friday to assess the damage for their customers.