DENVER (CBS4)– Xcel Energy crews are headed to Puerto Rico to help restore power to those who have been without for nearly four months after Hurricane Maria hit.
Some 65 line workers, support staff and vehicles left for the island earlier this month. The vehicles were loaded onto a barge at the port of Lake Charles, Louisiana and are on their way to Puerto Rico.
About 50 Xcel Energy line workers from the Midwest, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico, along with additional staff, were dispatched to the U.S. Territory. The crews are expected to work in Caguas, a mountainous and remote region in the southeast area of the island. That is where the storm came inland and the damage is significant.
“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, in a statement. “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.”
The Xcel crews will fly to Puerto Rico at the end of the month and work with incident management teams that have partnered with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) on restoration efforts.
Xcel joins more than 20 other electric companies to help restore power to the devastated region.
So far, Maria’s damage in Puerto Rico cost $90 billion. As of Dec. 29, 2017, the Department of Public Safety had certified 64 deaths due to Hurricane Maria.