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Area Xcel Energy workers return after storm

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Dozens of area Xcel Energy workers are coming back home after helping thousands of the millions who lost power from Superstorm Sandy.

The head of the group of area Xcel energy workers, says it was the first time they were deployed to restore power after a hurricane and ended up getting hit by a snow storm. More than 30 employees from Texas and New Mexico helped restore power to about 15,000 homes in Plainview, New York.

Director of Distribution Jay Smith says, "When you get someone's power back on. You know, and they come running out of the house. That's real cool. I mean, that's what we go there for. We go there to help out. And the way it's set up with the mutual aid. If we ever need the help, there they're for us too."

Smith says by the time they arrived in Plainview, residents had been out of power for 7 days. They were first sent to Virginia, but the power was already restored when they got there. So they took off to Plainview. He says, "Most of the power was out. But it wasn't total destruction. The problem we ran into, and what caused a lot of the outages is they have some massive trees. And it only takes one tree to fall. And some of these trees are 80 to 90 feet tall. And just destroyed pretty much everything in its path."

The third day they were in Plainview, the nor' easter storm hit. "By about 5 o' clock there was about 5 or 6 inches of snow. So we had to shut the guys down. The conditions had simply gotten too dangerous." Smith says they were deployed for a total of two weeks.

He says it was tough for all of them to be away from family, but they're glad they were able to help thousands of families. "We really are very happy to be helping out. And the people there were so appreciative of it... When they found out we were staying in man camps for most of the time, offering up hot showers, being able to use their bathrooms. Those kind of things. The residents there were great."

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.

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