In another news release on Thursday, Xcel Energy said crews have been working to restore power to more than 250,000 customers who lost service due to a severe thunderstorm Tuesday night that brought damaging high winds and torrential downpours. Power has been restored to about 226,600 customers since the storm hit Tuesday night; 23,400 customers are currently without service.

The damage from this storm is extensive, with hundreds of broken power poles, downed trees and power lines and other damage to the power grid. Although crews are working round-the-clock, they expect that outages from this storm will take considerable time to repair.

They have called in additional crews, contractors and mutual aid from other utilities and now have workers from 17 states assisting the effort. Today more than 1,400 Xcel Energy employees are tackling these customer outages.

Of the 23,400 customers currently without power, 19,800 are in the metro area (12,000 in the west metro and 7,800 in the east metro), 2,200 are in southeast Minnesota (Red Wing, Greenfield, Mazeppa, Northfield) and about 1,300 in northwest Minnesota (Big Lake/St. Michael area). There are also about 100 Wisconsin customers without power.

Based on the extent of the damage, they estimate that crews will be able to restore power to the majority of our customers in northwest Minnesota by Thursday evening (July 7), with the majority of customers in the metro area and in southeast Minnesota restored by Friday evening (July 8). However, it’s important to note that there is severe weather in the forecast for the next 24 hours; if there is additional damage or more outages, those estimated restoration times may change.

Restoring the power after a major storm is a challenging and complex situation. Top priority is given to situations that threaten public safety, such as live, downed wires. They're also forced to prioritize their efforts to help the most people possible, as quickly as possible. Repairing feeder lines and taps are a higher priority because they serve a large numbers of customers. Although there are only 23,400 customers remaining without power from this large event, those customers are part of more than 2,300 individual jobs that are being assigned to crews. They’re basically rebuilding portions of our power grid that was knocked out by these storms.

Also please note if your home has any damage to the mast where the power line connects to you home or building you own, this has to be repaired by a licensed electrician and in some communities inspected before power can be restored by Xcel.

Tomasz Wyszoamirski