While imagery of a powerless Manhattan is common in disaster movies, it’s something that New Yorkers have been seeing firsthand since Sandy struck on Monday. But it won’t last much longer: New York power company Consolidated Edison confirmed this morning that it expects to restore power to Manhattan on Saturday.

Con Ed spokesperson Mike Clendenin made the announcement this morning, correcting another spokesperson who had claimed Manhattan’s power would be restored later today, Bloomberg reports.

Update: Con Ed has clarified the above comments further. 6,500 lower Manhattan customers will get power today, while the rest of the island will be restored tomorrow.

Around 900,000 New Yorkers lost power when Sandy hit, and today 570,000 still don’t have any service. Con Ed says the majority of its affected customers should have power again by November 11. Altogether, Sandy knocked out power from around 8.5 million on the East Coast. The storm has so far claimed 39 lives in New York and 14 in New Jersey.

Manhattan lost power below 34th Street, which made for some eery imagery where the lower part of the island was in the dark (see picture above), while everything seemed fine in Midtown and above.

“As of 5 a.m. today, Con Edison had 226,000 customers without power in Manhattan, 84,000 in Queens, 35,000 in Brooklyn, 54,000 in Staten Island and 31,000 in the Bronx,” according to an earlier Bloomberg report from this morning. “In Westchester County, the company reported 140,000 customers out of service.”

Economic losses from Sandy could reach $30 billion to $50 billion, the New York Times reports, based on figures from analysis firm Eqecat.

Restoring power to Manhattan is just one step in a prolonged process to make things normal again in New York City. The subway system is only partially restored, thanks to continued flooding and equipment issues, and there’s still plenty of cleanup left. Commuters are making their way into Manhattan via partially restored commuter rails, bus service bringing people over from Brooklyn (bridging disabled subway lines), and carpooling to meet the city’s three-person requirement for passenger vehicles.

Business were also brought to a standstill after Sandy’s onslaught. The New York Stock Exchange opened yesterday after being shut down for two days, while others in the city are scavenging for coworking space. But many won’t be able to do anything until the lights are back on.

Photo: David Shankbone/Flickr