Gov. Chris Christie praised the National Guard's work in New Jersey during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and reportedly said he expects all power to be restored to the state by early Sunday.
Christie spoke at a press conference on Thursday, flanked by members of the National Guard at an armory in Somerset.
"I wanted to come here and thank these men and women as an example of the over 2,200 National Guardsmen I ordered activated in the prelude to Hurricane Sandy," Christie said. "They have done an extraordinary job."
Christie addressed a number of issues still plaguing the state, including power outages.
Christie said as of Thursday morning there were 390,746 customers without power in the state, an increase of about 19,000 from Wednesday. He said some of that was due to new outages caused by winter storm Athena.
"Good news is we have not seen the kind of damage we saw with Hurricane Sandy and we are confident that we will be able to move forward in our recovery efforts," Christie said.
The governor also said he expects the state to have its power fully restored by early Sunday, according to a report by the Associated Press.
Christie gave numbers on customer outages for each power company. He said as of Thursday morning, the percentage of customers out were: PSE&G, 95 percent; JCP&L, 75 percent; Atlantic City Electric, 95 percent (down from 100 due to Athena); Orange & Rockland, 92 percent.
Christie also said the gas situation in the state has improved over the past few days, thanks in part to the National Guard's distribution efforts and the odd-even system. He said that he will reevaluate that system over the weekend, and decide if it needs to continue next week.
Christie said 77 percent of the schools and 80 percent of the districts in the state were operating on Thursday. He said two days before that percentage was in the 40s.
There has been some confusion about FEMA aid, according to Christie, who urged residents to call and register with the agency.
"I had people who I spoke to last night who said 'FEMA hasn't been to my house. It's outrageous,'" he said. "I said 'when did you register?' and they said 'I have to register?' Yes, you have to register first or they don't know where you live. They aren't going to every house."
Residents of the barrier islands may be able to visit their homes again very soon. Christe said from Berkeley to Brick, controlled visitation would take place no later than Saturday. He said that Friday had been the plan originally, but that change due to the impact of the latest storm.