AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Thousands of homes in the Panhandle experienced power outages and damage over the weekend.
Xcel Energy has been working diligently to restore power to all 51,000 affected customers. More than 500 workers were out making repairs Monday and by Tuesday there will be an additional 322 workers in the northeast Panhandle.
Spokesman Wes Reeves said Lipscomb County was one of the hardest hit areas along with Pampa, Borger, and Perryton.
Right now, there are about 12,000 Xcel customers without power and the company is unsure when power will be fully restored.
Reeves said those who live in rural areas could be without power for a long time.
"There very well can be some customers out in the rural areas without power for multiple days and obviously we do not want that to happen and we are going to do everything we can to get restored sooner," Reeves expressed.
Customers in Pampa and Borger should have their services back by the end of the day on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
While customers in Booker and Perryton can expect their power to be restored by Wednesday, Jan. 17.
For customers in Lipscomb County and Darrouzett, Reeves believes power will be restored later this week.
Most of the damage that occurred this weekend came from frozen tree branches which fell onto power lines or damaged meter boxes.
"If you see branches that are kind of crowding your service line don't do anything about it," Reeves urged. "Let us know about that and as we begin to get the lights back on we can come around and trim those branches away. It may take us a little bit longer on but we don't want customers to put themselves in any danger by trying to trim branches away from lines."
Reeves said the outages became too much for our local plants, so they called in stations from New Mexico and Colorado to help.
"Another issue we have is dozens and dozens of single service level outages from house to house," Reeves said. "Tree limbs fell into the service line that connects them to our network and in some cases that also caused property damage to the house, facility or the meter box and the mast that goes up."
Reeves said in these type of situations customers will need to hire a licensed electrician to make repairs and have the repairs inspected by local authorities before calling Xcel to reconnect service lines.
Even though warmer weather has arrived, Reeves said it can add to repair delays.
"Weather continues to be a challenge in that it is now warming up and so what that is doing is it is melting everything and turning into mud," Reeves said. "I think the biggest challenge we have in a day after an ice storm is moving into the areas where we need to work."
But Xcel is covered, because they have special crews which help pull equipment and trucks out if they are stuck.