Xcel Energy sends natural gas crews to help New York - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Xcel Energy sends natural gas crews to help New York

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (WXOW) - Xcel Energy has already dispatched more than 240 crews to Hurricane Sandy relief on the east coast.

Often, they're called to help restore electricity following severe weather, but for the first time, Xcel sent employees to help repair natural gas lines.

Twenty-five Xcel crews from Wisconsin and Minnesota dispatched to Long Island, N.Y. Monday to help restore waterlogged and damaged natural gas meters.

Xcel crews will be in New York for two weeks to aid repair.

This means they'll be there for Thanksgiving.

"They're working 16 hour days, they get eight hours of rest, then they work another 16 hour day," said Brian Elwood, Xcel Energy spokesperson. "They're long, hard days for the crew, but we know that the work is important and we certainly appreciate them volunteering and taking the time from their family."

Xcel crews are often sleeping on cots and makeshift bunkers, sometimes in tents and at fire stations, if they can find one, according to Elwood. They've seen fallen trees and poles, electrical wire in the streets, but that's considered "typical" when it comes to natural disasters.

Elwood said crews are on the east coast because they understand the critical nature of gas and electric use and appreciate when crews assist the people of Wisconsin if they have outages.

Xcel said their electric crew will be back in Wisconsin by the end of the week.

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