Xcel Energy leaders visit island to thank employees

EAU CLAIRE, Wis.  (Feb. 13, 2018) – Nearly 2,000 Puerto Rican customers have had their electricity turned back on thanks to Xcel Energy crews. Workers from the Upper Midwest, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico have been on the island since Jan. 29 and are continuing their efforts to restore power to the island. Four crew members are from Wisconsin.

Last week, Xcel Energy linemen spent a few days working to restore power to Escuela Rexford Guy Tugwell, a Montessori school located in Cayey. Crews, students, and teachers celebrated power restoration Thursday, Feb. 8, and students are now able to have full school days for the first time since Hurricane Maria hit the island.

Video of the moment the power came back on and the celebration that followed can be found here: https://youtu.be/Alzm9UiVQfg.

Xcel Energy leaders Bob Frenzel, chief financial officer, and Kent Larson, executive vice president and group president, operations, are in Puerto Rico this week thanking workers for all they’ve done and to see the progress first hand.

More than 1 million Puerto Rican customers, 75 percent of the island, have had their power restored. Hundreds of thousands still remain without power more than four months after Hurricane Maria caused tremendous damage to the island’s homes, businesses, infrastructure and electrical grid.

Xcel Energy crews are working 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 are 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 brought nearly 1,500 additional workers to Puerto Rico. More than 5,500 people are part of the overall restoration efforts.