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January 11, 2018 10:03 PM

Xcel Energy Sending Workers To Puerto Rico To Help Restore Power

Some KELOLAND workers are getting ready to help people in Puerto Rico who are still without power months after severe storms. Xcel Energy is sending 65 line workers and support staff to Puerto Rico to restore power. That includes workers from Sioux Falls.

Mick Murphy helped turn the power back on in Florida after the hurricanes, and says you see a lot of unexpected sights in new regions. 

"We came across a little stream, and sure enough, there was an alligator in there," Murphy said. 

That wasn't enough to turn Murphy, the Manager of Construction and Design in Sioux Falls, off from signing on to another effort to make a difference. Four months after Hurricane Maria, much of Puerto Rico is still devastated. Hundreds of thousands of people still do not have electricity. Xcel Energy trucks left for Puerto Rico earlier this month, were loaded onto a barge at the port of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and are now on their way to the island.

"You just can't believe the relief once they see you pull into their neighborhood that they're finally going to get power, and I would imagine -- once we get to Puerto Rico -- it's going to be the same," Murphy said. 

Workers will be in Puerto Rico for six weeks. After three weeks, the company will swap new workers to take over. There are some unknowns. Murphy says the biggest challenge will likely be the terrain of the remote U.S. territory. 

"We really don't know what we're going to get into as far as digging. Could be sandy, could be rocky," Murphy said. 

We've all seen the destruction in Puerto Rico, and Murphy is ready for the unexpected. 
However, the sight that'll give this power man the biggest charge is the gratitude from people he's helping. 

"Emotional, I would say, for myself. It'll probably be like that," Murphy said. 



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