FAIRMONT, W.V., Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 1,100 Mon Power employees, contractors, and outside utility crews are continuing damage assessment and restoration efforts to restore power to the approximately 80,000 customers who remain without electrical service as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Approximately 200,000 Mon Power customers lost power when Hurricane Sandy hit the region earlier this week. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121101/CL04967 ) "Although snow and freezing rain continue to hinder our crews, we are making progress," said Jim Haney, FirstEnergy utility executive. "Approximately 550 miles of the more than 900 miles of transmission lines damaged by the storm have been restored." Helicopters were grounded again today due to poor weather conditions so crews continued assessing transmission line damage by foot. Not only are crews challenged by the mountainous terrain, some areas received nearly three feet of snow, making the restoration process difficult. Crews are being deployed to high priority damage locations, including transmission and substation facilities that supply power for local distribution systems. Priority is also given to hospitals, critical care and life support facilities, communications facilities, emergency response agencies and circuits serving the largest number of customers, followed by restoration of service to individual homes. While the majority of affected customers in counties served by Mon Power are expected to be restored by the middle of next week, customers in the hardest-hit areas might not be fully restored until the end of next week. A complete list of estimated restoration times is available on FirstEnergy's website at www.firstenergycorp.com/storminfo. As snow and debris from the storm is cleared, customers are cautioned never to touch or drive over downed lines. Customers should always assume downed wires are carrying electricity and are reminded to keep their children and pets away from downed wires. Downed wires should be reported immediately to Mon Power at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877), or by calling the local police or fire department. Customers should never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines because they could conduct electricity; instead, wait for emergency services or utility crews to arrive.