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“The rationing really helps us a lot,” said Lindenbaum, owner of Court Express. “We need to work. We need the gas.”

Desperate drivers weren’t paying much attention to prices, but in New Jersey, seven gas stations were among the eight businesses sued by the state Friday on price-gouging claims.

Meanwhile, many officials were pointing to power companies as the culprit in the region’s slow recovery. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for investigation of the region’s utilities, criticizing them as unprepared and badly managed. On Friday, two congressmen from Long Island urged the federal government — even the military — to come in and help the Long Island Power Authority restore electricity.

Long Island’s main utility, the Long Island Power Authority, has declined to respond to criticism; the president of National Grid US, which manages the grid on LIPA’s behalf, said Friday that he thought his company had “performed extremely well” under the circumstances. New York utility Consolidated Edison Corp. has called the storm the worst in its history.

Some residents of Toms River, N.J., were given a precious hour Friday to see their storm-wrecked houses for the first time and grab warm-weather clothing, important pictures — whatever belongings they could. When Steve Dabern saw his flooded house, the floor was torn in pieces, the refrigerator was on its side and the kitchen furniture was in the living room.

“Sickness. I felt sick,” he said.


Fitzgerald reported from White Plains, N.Y. Associated Press writers Frank Eltman in North Massapequa, Paul Harloff, Meghan Barr, David B. Caruso, Jennifer Peltz, Colleen Long and Karen Matthews in New York City, Angela Delli Santi in Seaside Heights, N.J., Wayne Parry in Toms River, N.J., Samantha Henry in Newark, N.J., and Brett Zongker and Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.