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Xcel Energy works throughout Sunday to restore power to thousands

In total, 330,000 customers were impacted
Xcel Energy restoring power to homes
Posted at 5:59 AM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 13:50:41-04

DENVER — Late into Sunday evening, Xcel crews worked around the clock to return service to thousands who were still without power.

“We heard a loud boom and then power has been out since then,” said Tim Yeager outside of his Centennial home.

Yeager said he and his family had been without power for 36 hours.

“Yesterday, my friend came over and he's an electrician, so he hooked up a generator directly to our electrical box and we were able to do the fridge and the furnace,” Yeager said.

The outage was unlike anything he’s seen before.

“I think about the neighbors that don’t have generators and those that can’t cook food and that are elderly and living nearby,” Yeager said.

Across town in the Barnum neighborhood, Veronica Barela and her husband felt the effects of the outage for more than a day.

“It was, what 28 hours that we were out our power? We had about a million blankets on us last night,” Barela said.

This was all while she is recovering from COVID-19.

“It's been very difficult because COVID makes you really sick, and you need some heat,” Barela said.

When it comes to why power is restored in some neighborhoods before others, Xcel said it’s simple math.

“We really work to go from high impact, high customer count and restore them and all the way down to the one on ones,” said Hollie Velasquez, the regional vice president of Xcel Energy.

That means if they can fix a line that will restore power to thousands of people, they’ll do that first. Xcel also said this storm brought on a different set of challenges.

“It was really heavy, wet snow, and so we had a lot of damage with trees hitting on power lines, poles breaking down and falling over,” Velasquez said.

Xcel said it replaced 124 poles, as well as five miles of electric line.

For Barela, the thought of preparing for a future similar outage is concerning, especially because of how costly generators can be.

“All the generators that kick in if the power goes out there, I think $3-5,000, you can get one for $500, but people shouldn't have to do that,” Barela said.

Nearly 600 Xcel Energy customers were still without power as of 11:50 a.m. Monday.