Xcel Energy crews depart for Puerto Rico to help with ongoing power restoration efforts
Xcel Energy is sending more than 70 employees to Puerto Rico today to help with the ongoing power restoration efforts on the island. More than 68 percent of customers have had their power restored but hundreds of thousands remain without power more than four months after Hurricane Maria made landfall.
Xcel Energy workers departed on flights this morning and afternoon from Minneapolis, Denver, and Lubbock, and Amarillo, Texas. The company is sending about 54 line workers from the Upper Midwest, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico, along with additional safety and support staff after receiving the call to help last month. Xcel Energy trucks left for Puerto Rico earlier this month, were loaded onto a barge at the port of Lake Charles, Louisiana and arrived in Puerto Rico on Thursday, Jan. 18.
“We want to assist the people of Puerto Rico and we are honored to be part of this restoration effort,” said Kent Larson, executive vice president and group president, operations-Xcel Energy. “This is a massive undertaking under difficult circumstances, but our crews are ready to bring power back on safely- it’s what we would do for our own customers and we want to deliver that same quality of service to our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.”
“When the call came in for help, our crews from across Minnesota, Fargo, and Sioux Falls were ready to answer it,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. “We have some of the best line workers in the nation, and they are proud to be helping the people of Puerto Rico. There is a lot of work to be done, but we know our crews are up to the task.”
Xcel Energy crews are expected to work in Caguas, a mountainous and remote region in the southeast area of the island. This is where the storm came inland and the damage is significant. The crews will work with incident management teams that have partnered with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) on restoration efforts.
PREPA is working with members of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on damage assessment and a coordinated restoration plan. More than 20 electric companies, including Xcel Energy, are part of a coordinated, nationwide mutual assistance response that’s bringing nearly 1,500 additional workers to Puerto Rico. With these new workers more than 5,500 people will be part of the restoration efforts.
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