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Verizon: Sandy Could Have 'Significant' Effect on Q4

Verizon Communications said dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy could have a “significant” effect on fourth-quarter 2012 operating results, but that it could not yet estimate the cost.

Thousands of the telco’s employees are still working to restore service for wireline and wireless networks, with the storm directly affecting a large portion of Verizon’s Northeast footprint, including New York City and New Jersey. (Photo above: Verizon pumps out a flooded central office facility in Lower Manhattan.)

According to the company’s worst-case scenario, it may take up to two weeks to restore service to some customers depending on the restoration of commercial power.

“It is not possible at this time to estimate the impact that the storm and the required remediation may have on Verizon's operating results for the fourth quarter of 2012, but we expect that it could be significant,” the telco said in an 8-K filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cablevision Systems subscribers also have been significantly affected by power outages; the MSO estimated that about half its customers in the New York metro area -- around 1.5 million homes -- were without power as of Thursday.

Recovering from Hurricane Sandy could cost telcos and cable operators between $550 million and $600 million, according to Barclays analyst James Ratcliffe, as cited by Reuters.

For the third quarter of 2011, Verizon said two storms -- Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee -- combined with a two-week strike by union workers in the Northeast added about $250 million in operating expenses.