MINNEAPOLIS - Xcel Energy sent more than 70 employees, including an employee from Red Wing, to Puerto Rico to help with the ongoing power restoration efforts on the island. More than 68 percent of customers have had their power restored but hundreds of thousands remain without power more than four months after Hurricane Maria made landfall.

The company sent about 54 line workers from the upper Midwest, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico, along with additional safety and support staff after receiving the call to help last month. Xcel Energy trucks left for Puerto Rico earlier this month, were loaded onto a barge at the port of Lake Charles, La., and arrived in Puerto Rico on Jan. 18.

"When the call came in for help, our crews from across Minnesota, Fargo, and Sioux Falls were ready to answer it," said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. "We have some of the best line workers in the nation, and they are proud to be helping the people of Puerto Rico. There is a lot of work to be done, but we know our crews are up to the task."

Xcel Energy crews are expected to work in Caguas, a mountainous and remote region in the southeast area of the island. This is where the storm came inland and the damage is significant. The crews will work with incident management teams that have partnered with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority on restoration efforts.