FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jeff Ostermayer, 202-508-5683
Jon Corley, 202-508-5609
Washington, DC (March 5, 2014) — The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) today presented Xcel Energy with the association’s “Emergency Recovery Award” for its outstanding power restoration efforts after a widespread severe weather outbreak in the company’s Upper Midwest service territory in June.
The award is presented annually to EEI member companies to recognize their extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions caused by severe weather conditions or natural events. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI’s Spring CEO and Board of Directors meeting in Washington, D.C.
During a three-day period in late June, a series of severe storms hit Minnesota, including the Twin Cities area, and western Wisconsin, causing more than 610,000 Xcel Energy customers to lose power. The high winds, damaging lightning, and heavy rain created dangerous and difficult conditions for workers trying to restore power in the days following the storms. Crews from Xcel Energy and other companies called in to assist had to navigate and work around fallen tree limbs, uprooted trees, and scattered storm debris.
Despite the difficult working conditions and the quick succession of the storms, Xcel Energy restored power to 96 percent of affected customers within three days after the final storm. The utility’s quick and effective response was due in large part to careful preparation before power outages began and coordination with 22 utility companies from 15 states. Xcel Energy also engaged with customers during the restoration process through more than 705,000 calls that came in on the company’s toll-free lines and more than 2,500 messages that were sent to customers through social media outlets.
“Xcel Energy’s outstanding restoration efforts exemplify the industry’s commitment to serving its customers,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “We commend the crews who braved dangerous conditions in the wake of these severe storms, as they diligently worked to safely and quickly restore service.”
Xcel Energy Chairman, President and CEO Ben Fowke said he was honored to accept the award on behalf of the company.
“The devastating June storms gave us the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the customers and communities we serve,” Fowke said. “Our employees are the best in the business. They worked around the clock and restored power to all affected customers within about six days, an impressive feat. We are also grateful for the support of surrounding utilities that helped us perform under these extreme conditions.
“Our performance stems from good planning, smart investments to prepare the grid and great execution. We know how important electricity service is for our customers, and we are committed to being there when they need us most, and every day in between.”