Heavy, Wet Snow Causing Power Outages Across Colorado During Blizzard

The heavy, wet snow that is falling across Colorado during this March storm is causing power outages across the state. Poudre Valley REA said about 4,300 members were without power, Sunday morning. Xcel Energy reported 7,500 customers without power.

Video Transcript

- Right now we want to check on the power situation with Xcel Senior Director, Hollie Velasquez Horvath. First off, do we have any widespread outages we're looking at right now?

HOLLY VELASQUEZ HORVATH: We, widespread, we have had an increase in the northern Colorado area. So Greeley and Fort Collins is where we're seeing a significant amount of the outages.

- Well, we know you guys are working hard, especially with this type of snow. It's that heavy wet snow, makes branches fall down. So these aren't ideal conditions for your crews.

HOLLY VELASQUEZ HORVATH: They are not, but we do a great job. And I would say the damage to the infrastructure, if you can think about it, if this heavy wet snow impacts poles and breaks them in half or the arms from the distribution or transmission poles, the cross-arm breaks or the line goes down, it just takes time to get those repairs done. It's not like hooking back up a wire or removing a tree limb.

So the restoration time just takes a little bit longer with some of the, repairing some of the damage. But in the end, the good part of it is, is that most of the damage that we are seeing is on the larger electric lines, which has a lot more customers on it. So we have really targeting those larger, those larger feeder lines so that we can repair as many customers as we can as quick as we can.

- It was about an hour ago that we got that blizzard warning. We know these situations are fluid. What's kind of your plan for the rest of the day?

HOLLY VELASQUEZ HORVATH: We started seeing an uptick around 9:00 AM. And so we started calling on extra contractors and other emergency response folks to help us. So we within an hour, we went from 300, like you and I had talked before, to roughly a little over 450 crews. And then we started seeing the impacts up in northern Colorado. So we shifted a lot of our resources to spend some time up there, being mindful that we still need to keep some back for the metro area.

With the blizzard warning, it just poses a little bit more of a roadblock, because you've got the highways that are closed. So if we are looking at extra resources or emergency response to come in from other states with the utility companies, those highways are closed. And so it just limits our ability to get more resources. But I do feel good that we are staying about pace. We're not seeing a significant increase. We're repairing some of those lines and staying pretty steady with our outages right now.

- Well, let's hope it stays that way for you guys. I know you're going to be busy. And once again, thanks for your time today. Good luck, all right?

HOLLY VELASQUEZ HORVATH: Of course, thanks.

- All right, take care.