Xcel workers head for Okla. twister site

May 21, 2013 • Local News

Close to 50 Xcel Energy workers from New Mexico and Texas left for Oklahoma Tuesday to help restore power in storm-damaged areas.

Workers will join 29 transmission line personnel members the company sent to Oklahoma earlier this week.

Transmission workers deal with high-voltage lines that move power from facilities that distribute it into towns and cities.

Xcel Energy spokesman Wes [auth] Reeves said the workers sent Tuesday will assist Oklahoma Gas & Energy’s restoration efforts involving lower-voltage lines that service neighborhoods.

Many of the workers have participated in storm restoration efforts around the country before, Reeves said, such as those in the New York City area following Hurricane Sandy.

“They are very seasoned at this type of work,” he said, adding that workers volunteered to participate in the effort.

OG&E and Xcel are part of a mutual aid network, Reeves said, and Xcel has worked with the company many times.

The group took with it equipment, such as pickups, line trucks, cranes and hole diggers. Safety personnel, mechanics and other support staff also traveled with the group.

While it is unclear how long workers will be gone, Reeves said it is the company’s No. 1 priority to bring them home accident-free.

“That’s going to be very critical when you go in to area devastated like that,” he said. “They’re very good at handling these situations, but we will be keeping safety at the forefront.”

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