NEW INFORMATION: Xcel crews leave for the east coast

By: News Staff, Matt Hoffman Email
By: News Staff, Matt Hoffman Email

Xcel Press Release

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – Today, Xcel Energy sent 46 Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan employees and heavy equipment to assist in power restoration efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Linemen, fleet technicians, safety consultants and managers from Minnesota joined Wisconsin employees from Abbotsford, Eau Claire, Hayward, Hudson, La Crosse, Menomonie and Rice Lake and an employee from Ironwood, Mich., in Eau Claire. The crews in more than 20 bucket trucks and other vehicles were led out of Eau Claire with a police escort.

“Our hearts go out to the millions affected by this destructive storm,” said Mark Stoering, president and CEO of Northern States Power-Wisconsin. “Our crews have the skills and experience to tackle these types of situations safely and expertly, and we’re honored to play a role in helping our neighbors – even if they live more than 1,000 miles away.”

Crews will help American Electric Power rebuild electricity distribution systems in West Virginia, Kentucky and southern Ohio. The trip is approximately 1,200 miles one way. The deployment may last as long as two weeks.

Stoering noted that AEP made the request through a mutual aid network and specifically asked to work with Xcel Energy crews. “This is a testament to our skilled employees, their professionalism and their focus on safety. We helped AEP this past summer following the wind storms in Ohio. Our crews worked to restore power in 100-plus degree weather. Now it appears that they will be dealing with 2-4 feet of snow and heavy damage – conditions they are very capable of addressing.”

Utilities maintain mutual aid agreements and routinely assist each other when storms cause massive destruction resulting in widespread, lengthy power outages. The utility requesting aid reimburses the utility whose crews are sent to help. Xcel Energy sends crews after assessing its own situation and ensuring it has adequate resources to respond to routine and emergency power outages in its service territories.

Additional Xcel Energy crews also are being deployed to help on the East Coast from the company’s Public Service Co. of Colorado and Southwestern Public Service Co., based in Denver and Amarillo, Tex., respectively.

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(WEAU) - 8.2 million people are still without power in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. Crews say it will be an overwhelming process to get the lights turned back on for all those people. Even local power companies are pitching in to help. It's a daunting task, but area power crews are up for the challenge. Some crews have already left and others will be heading out Wednesday to help out in the hardest hit areas left behind by Sandy.

A caravan of 45 Xcel Energy employees from Wisconsin, Minnesota and MIchigan will be heading east to help in the power restoration efforts following the Superstorm Sandy. Most will be departing from Eau Claire.

"Specifically, we have lineman, fleet technicians, managers, and a safety consultant leaving from here tomorrow morning," says spokesman for

When they reach the area they will be deployed to communities in West Virginia, southern Ohio and Kentucky working for American electric power.

"We’ve worked with AEP in the past this summer we worked with them in southern Ohio during the wind storms and they specifically requested to work with us so I think that's a testament to our crew's professionalism and excellent work and they have a real focus on safety."

Early this Tuesday morning, Rice Lake Utilities sent a crew of two power line workers to Pennsylvania to help in the restoration of power there. Right now their commitment is set for two weeks. By request of mutual aid, Rice Lake and 10 other Wisconsin municipal utility crews are being sent to the hardest hit areas.

"We have used mutual aid in the past for storm damage that has occurred in our municipality, and we feel it is important that we are able to help out the other communities that have helped us in the past," says Leo J Diehl from Rice Lake Utilities.

The Red Cross is also doing its part to help out the millions of people impacted by Sandy, and they need your help. Due to the storm, several blood drives were canceled out East. The Red Cross currently has a shortage of up to 4,000 units of blood, and is taking blood donations. If you'd like to help out, click on the link below where you can find a local blood drive near you.

Find A Local Blood Drive

You can also help out the victims of Sandy by giving a financial donation by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or text RED CROSS to 90999 to donate $10. You can also donate on their webpage at the link below.
Red Cross Webpage


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