Widespread power outages have hit Monmouth County, N.J., officials said Monday afternoon.
Jersey Central Power and Light said that as many as 70,000 customers in the county have experienced outages -- but a "customer" can be an entire apartment building.
Witnesses reported a large explosion at a substation on Asbury Avenue in Tinton Falls around 5 p.m. An official with JCPL confirmed that it was an equipment failure at the Tinton Falls station which caused the problem, but said there was no explosion.
Bill Heine, a spokesman for the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management confirmed that at about 4:45 there was a problem with the sub-station in Tinton Falls.
Officials said power was expected to be fully restored by 9 p.m. and many people were reporting the lights coming back on by then.
Jonathan Philpot, in Bradley Beach, had just gotten home from buying textbooks for his upcoming semester at Monmouth University when the power went out.
"The lights flickered on and off, slowly dimmed and that was about it," said Philpot, 24. "I drove down to Belmar, they're out too, the whole county is out."
He noted that "traffic is horrendous. There are police at every corner. It's pretty bad because it happened at rush hour,"
He said he was concerned about his grandmothers in Farmingdale and Brick Township, N.J., whom he hadn't been able to reach.
But Philpot was able to stay connected to rest the outside world via his cell phone, and even Tweeted about his situation.
"Thank goodness for cell phones and data plans," he said.