WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department said power was slowly returning to the states along the east coast hammered by a late-season hurricane.
Sandy, once a Category 1 hurricane, merged with another storm system to become a so-called super storm, battering the East Coast and causing more than 100 deaths.
U.S. President Barack Obama, in a weekend statement, said the storm caused a "severe" energy disruption in the region. National home heating oil reserves were released for the area and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offered waivers on regulations for gasoline to increase fuel supplies to the area.
At the peak, more than 8.5 million customers were without power in the 21 states affected by Sandy. The Energy Department said that, as of late Tuesday, there were 930,783 customers still without power in six states hit by the storm.
Gasoline prices, however, continued to climb in the region. Motor group AAA reports residents in New York state paid, on average, $3.98 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline Wednesday. That's 6 cents higher than last week and 50 cents higher than the national average.