UPDATE 1-U.S. East Coast power outages from Hurricane Sandy reach 8.l mln

Oct 30 (Reuters) - U.S. East Coast electric companies say outages from Hurricane Sandy so far have hit more than 8.1 million homes and businesses, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said in a report early on Tuesday.

Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey at about 8 p.m. EDT on Monday, the DOE said.

New Jersey was the hardest hit state with about 2.5 million customers out, about 62 percent of the state total.

Other hard hit states include Connecticut with 31 percent or 626,400 customers out; Rhode Island with 23 percent or 116,300 out; West Virginia with 21 percent or 212,100 customers out; New York with 21 percent or about 2 million out; Pennsylvania with 20 percent or 1.3 million out; and New Hampshire with 20 percent or 142,000 out.

The utilities with the most customers out of service were units of FirstEnergy Corp, Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, Consolidated Edison, Northeast Utilities, PPL Corp, National Grid PLC, Pepco Holdings Group Inc and Iberdrola SA.