Skylake Ranch residents question Xcel's plans for substation in their subdivision

'We get our electricity from United Power'
Posted at 11:38 PM, May 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 17:16:37-04

THORNTON, Colo. – Residents in Thornton’s Skylake Ranch subdivision say they have no doubt that Xcel Energy needs another substation.

“We’re getting (commuter) rail here and Xcel says they’ve had blackouts,” said Christine Ashley.

But Ashley said the substation should not be built in Skylake.

“We’re not Xcel customers,” she said. “We get our electricity from United Power.”

Six years ago, Xcel proposed building a substation on open space in the subdivision, near a set of radio towers. Residents opposed those plans and Thornton’s City Council voted against the substation. Since that vote, Thornton’s population has increased by more than 12,000 people.

Xcel says as the metro area grows, so does the demand for electricity.

The utility giant has submitted plans to build a substation at 120th Avenue and Holly Street.

The plans call for the substation to be surrounded by a wall that will screen most of the equipment from view.

On its website, Xcel says architecturally, the wall will blend in with the neighborhood’s esthetics.

Skylake resident Katie Henneuse is opposed to the substation. She says the subdivision already has more than its share of utility infrastructure.

She said there is an existing high tension power line, an underground gas line, a gas line valve system and the existing radio towers.

Ashley told Denver7 that adding more utility infrastructure could adversely affect property values.

“How much infrastructure burden is one neighborhood supposed to shoulder for the rest of the city,” she asked.


Thornton Public Hearing

The Thornton City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal during it's regular meeting, at 7 p.m., on June 27.

There will be a second reading and vote during the July 11 council meeting


Uphill battle 

“What’s the tipping point that creates an infrastructure ghetto?”

Ashley said fighting the substation is an uphill battle. 

She said Xcel will profit from it, the developer will profit and so will Thornton.

“The only ones who won’t profit from it are the residents who live near it,” she said.

Ashley also said 120th and Holly is the entrance to the community. She worries that placing the substation at the entrance to the community “will define the community.”

Xcel spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo said when substations are designed with walls, many people don’t even know they are substations.

She said Xcel has put a lot of work into the planning of this substation, hosting community meetings and seeking public input.

Anyone with questions or comments can contact Xcel at or by calling: 844-551-6281.

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