ST. PAUL, Minn., June 22 (UPI) -- Hundreds of thousands of customers lost electric service when "multiple waves" of storms ripped through the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, utility officials said.
Power began going out Friday night and hundreds of thousands of customers were still without electricity early Saturday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. About 12,000 customers were without power in Rochester and St. Cloud.
Xcel Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Sparby said in a statement the level of outages was "one of the highest we've ever faced."
"Multiple waves of severe weather over the last 36 hours have produced an astonishing 505,000 power outages to Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota," the company said in a statement Saturday afternoon. "Power has been restored to more than two-thirds of the customers and approximately 150,000 customers remain without service."
Xcel spokesman Tom Hoen said 1,000 technicians from Ohio, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa are working 16-hour shifts, but it may be noon Wednesday before all service is restored, the company said.
"We have absolutely every available resource out in the field right now," Hoen said.