NEW York has imposed petrol rationing, meaning motorists can only fill their cars every other day.
• Fuel rationing has been imposed across New York
• Hundreds of thousands of residents are still without electricity
Recovery efforts after Superstorm Sandy have been hampered in New York and New Jersey today, with hundreds of thousands of new people left in darkness after a blanket of snow snapped storm-weakened trees and downed power lines.
Hundreds of thousands in New York and New Jersey were still waiting for the electricity to come back on, with cold and tired people losing patience.
To add to their woe, the nor’easter then brought gusting winds, rain and snow on Wednesday, though not the flooding that was anticipated. Snow blanketed several states and prevented recovery efforts spawned by Sandy as storm-weakened trees snapped and power lines came down before the nor’easter pulled away.
A new petrol rationing plan was put in place from today by which motorists can fill up every other day. Police will be on forecourts to enforce the new system in New York City and on Long Island.
“This is designed to let everybody have a fair chance, so the lines aren’t too oppressive and that we can get through this,” New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Mr Bloomberg said the system worked well in New Jersey, where lines went from a two-hour wait to 45 minutes after governor Chris Christie announced a similar rationing plan.
But some who have been without power are demanding investigations of utility companies they say are not working fast enough. An angry New York governor Andrew Cuomo joined the calls, ripping into the utilities he said were unprepared and badly managed.
“Privately I have used language my daughters couldn’t hear,” he fumed. “It’s unacceptable the longer it goes on because the longer it goes on, people’s suffering is worse.”
Power companies have said they are dealing with damage unprecedented in its scope and doing the best they can. At the peak, more than 8.5 million homes and businesses across 21 states lost power. As of yesterday, that was down to about 750,000, almost entirely in New York and New Jersey.
The nor’easter knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers in New York and New Jersey, erasing some of the progress made by utility crews.
“We lost power last week, just got it back for a day or two, and now we lost it again,” said John Monticello of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.
“Every day it’s the same now: Turn on the gas burner for heat. Instant coffee. Use the iPad to find out what’s going on in the rest of the world.”