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East Coast power outages from Sandy hit 8.2 million

(Reuters) - East Coast electric companies report that outages from Hurricane Sandy have hit more than 8.2 million homes and businesses, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said in a report early on Tuesday.

The impact was just shy of the 8.38 million homes and businesses that lost power during Hurricane Irene last year.

Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, at about 8 p.m. EDT on Monday, the DOE said.

New Jersey was the hardest hit state with about 65 percent of customers, or 2.6 million, without power.

Other hard-hit states include Connecticut with 31 percent of customers, or 626,500, customers out; West Virginia with 27 percent, or 271,700, out; New York with 23 percent, or 2.1 million, out; and Rhode Island with 23 percent, or 116,500, out.

The utilities with the most customers currently without power were units of FirstEnergy Corp, Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, Consolidated Edison, Northeast Utilities, Exelon Corp, PPL Corp, National Grid PLC and Pepco Holdings Group Inc.

The utilities said they expect to restore power within seven to 10 days.

(Reporting By Scott DiSavino; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, David Gregorio and Leslie Adler)