Xcel Energy Doubles Crews to Restore Power After Storms
More than 100,000 homes and businesses lost power due to the storm.
By 5pm Tuesday, though, 82,000 had it restored.
Xcel Energy says 95 percent of all people affected should have their electricity--and their air conditioning--back on by Wednesday night.
One of the big stumbling blocks is the unusually large number of downed power poles. "We do have reports of four to six, up to 14 poles, just knocked over by the wind," said Craig Hayman, Xcel's control center director. "Now typically you have to get into that 70-80 mile an hour wind range or have a tornado come through."
At Xcel computer nerve center in St. Paul, so-called "trouble foreman" directed Xcel's field crews, and even remotely turned power on and off. They said the storm ranks among the top 10-15 worst the Twin Cities has seen in terms of people affected by power outages.
Xcel says it has doubled the normal amount of crews out working, and it's brought in extra contractors from as far away as Ames, Iowa and Madison, Wisconsin. "In addition to 150 crews of linemen out there, we've also got 30 to 40 vegetation management crews out there," Hayman said. "There's times that we need to cut trees for three to four hours before we can even start putting the lines up."
And then of course there's the price tag connected to it all. Excel says it won't have final figures until tomorrow but already it estimates storm-related costs will total more than $2 million.