* Nor'easter knocked out power for 300,000 early Thurs
* Sandy, nor'easter outages up to more than 696,000
* NY, NJ utilities expect to restore power by Saturday
By Scott DiSavino
Nov 8 (Reuters) - A nor'easter Wednesday in New York and New Jersey knocked power out for hundreds of thousands of people and slowed utilities' efforts to restore service to more than 600,000 still without power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Still, by early Thursday, utilities had electricity flowing again for most of the 300,000 people affected by the nor'easter, and resumed restoration of Sandy-related outages.
More than 696,000 homes and businesses remained without power Thursday morning, a number that includes outages relating to the nor'easter, up from about 626,000 out a day earlier. See
Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on Oct. 29, knocking out power to about 8.5 million customers in 21 states, according to U.S. government data.
New York power company Consolidated Edison Inc said the nor'easter had knocked out electricity to about 55,000 customers in its New York City and Westchester County service area.
When the nor'easter hit, Con Edison said crews were working to restore service to 67,000 customers affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The company said on Thursday morning that crews were still working to restore about 74,000 customers whose equipment could be safely re-energized, and it hoped to have power back for them by Nov. 10.
But some 30,000 Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens homes whose electrical equipment was damaged by flooding cannot safely get their power back without repairs and an inspection by an electrician, Con Edison said.
On Long Island, New York, the Long Island Power Authority and National Grid PLC said 202,000 homes and businesses were without power Thursday morning, up from about 170,000 a day earlier.
A unit of UK power company National Grid operates the electric system on Long Island for LIPA.
Because of flood damage from Hurricane Sandy's tidal surge, LIPA and National Grid said electricians had to inspect and possibly repair about 100,000 homes on the South Shore of the island before they could turn on the power.
The nor'easter hit Long Island on Wednesday, causing more outages and interfering with LIPA and National Grid efforts to restore about 90 percent of those able to take power.
"We were on track to make that 90 percent, but due to the nor'easter, we did not make it," LIPA spokesman Mark Gross said.
He said the nor'easter had caused 123,000 new outages.
"The plan now is to assess this new damage as fast as possible, give as much priority as we possibly can for restoration to those customers affected by Sandy and also come up with a more detailed level of restoration dates for our customers," Gross said.
The other power company hard hit by the nor'easter was FirstEnergy Corp's Jersey Central Power and Light in New Jersey, which had more than 280,000 customers out Thursday morning, up from about 175,000 out a day earlier.
Before the nor'easter, JCP&L had said it expected to restore service to all of the Sandy-related outages by Saturday.
Ron Morano, a spokesman for JCP&L, told Reuters the nor'easter caused about 120,000 additional outages and the company was assessing the new damage and would know later Thursday if it would impact the restoration estimates.