(Reuters) - New Jersey power company Public Service Enterprise Group Inc (PSEG) will take seven to 10 days to restore power to all its customers after the tidal surge from monster storm Sandy badly damaged the electric transmission system and some switching stations, CEO Ralph Izzo said on Thursday.
"Probably the most significant damage we sustained was due to a tidal surge that was associated with Hurricane Sandy that hit the northern part of the territory, and uniquely did some damage to our transmission system and some of our switching stations," said Izzo, the chairman, president and CEO of PSEG, on the company's third-quarter conference call.
The storm left 1.7 million customers without service at the peak, he said, adding that the company has restored service to about a million.
"We have told people that we think full restoration is going to take anywhere from seven to 10 days," Izzo said.
PSEG serves about 2.2 million customers in New Jersey.
Power outages and flooding from Sandy have stymied the recovery of two New Jersey refineries.
Phillips 66 238,000-barrel-per-day Bayway refinery in Linden and Hess Corp's 70,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Port Reading both remained shut Thursday morning, according to federal data.
More than half of the gas stations in New Jersey and neighboring New York City remained shut due to power outages and depleted fuel supplies. Car drivers had to wait on long lines at gas stations that were expected to open.
Izzo said Sandy also affected some of the company's generation infrastructure in the northern part of the state, including older units at Kearny, Linden and Sewaren, but noted the most significant damage was to the transmission system, not the generating system.
He said Unit 1 at the Salem nuclear power would likely return to service soon after shutting due to Sandy.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Jan Paschal)