Officials at New Jersey Natural Gas say that service restoration continues haltingly but steadily.

Aerial view of Hurricane Sandy damage along the Jersey Shore ( (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

The Wall Township-based utility says that all Monmouth County customers except those in Sea Bright and Belford have been reconnected.

They also say they've completed 14,020 assessments at homes and businesses on Long Beach Island, and restored 660 customers in Tuckerton.

The next objective is the slender thread off the mainland from Seaside to Bay Head, still plagued by safety concerns.

The firm cut service to some 28,000 customers on the barrier islands last week, in order to quell a continuing series of natural gas-fed fires on the storm-wracked landscape. It was a measure of last resort, said a spokesman, after efforts to fight each fire individually turned into more than 1,300 calls for response.

Company officials remind customers that calls to turn on service shouldn't be placed until electricity has returned, the space is habitable and any natural gas components exposed to the elements are evaluated and, if necessary, replaced.

They also warn that tampering with gas lines or meters is a violation of federal, state and local safety codes.