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Xcel threatens to shut off Highlands Ranch woman's power unless she repairs crew's mistake

Xcel threatens to shut off Highlands Ranch woman's power unless she repairs crew's mistake
Posted at 6:20 PM, Feb 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-17 20:44:38-05

DENVER — It's stress Sue Sanders knows she can't afford following her recent heart attack, but Xcel Energy's threat to shutoff power at her Highlands Ranch home this week put her over the top.

Sanders reached out to Contact Denver7 for help.

"I was desperate. I didn't know where to turn," she said.

It all started Monday, when an Xcel subcontractor showed up to her home to install a smart meter, new technology Xcel started installing by the thousands in the Denver metro a few years back. The tool essentially measures power usage in real-time and charges residents based on the time of day they use energy.

Like many residents Denver7 has heard from, Sanders did not opt out of the smart meter installation because of the additional associated costs with her current meter.

Installation typically take about 15 minutes, which is why Sanders says she checked on the subcontractor's work when things were taking longer than expected.

"I checked on him because he was here for a half an hour. I said, 'Are you okay?' That's when he handed me some cord and said, 'Well, I broke this and I called my supervisor,'" Sanders said.

An Xcel Energy spokesperson confirmed with Denver7 that the subcontractor did in fact damage the smart meter, halting the project.

Sanders didn't make a fuss out of it, until she received an Xcel notice the next day that stated if she didn't correct the issue "within 15 days from the date of issues, service will be disconnected."

In a panic, Sanders called multiple companies and was quoted thousands of dollars in repair costs.

"$8,800, $5,300, $6,500 were some of the estimates," Sanders said. "It was more than anyone should have been put through, but hopefully there will be a solution."

Sanders says she reached out to Xcel multiple times, but didn't hear back until Denver7 reached out.

In a statement to Denver7 Friday, an Xcel spokesperson said in part, "We worked directly with our contractor for a quick resolution at no cost to the customer. The contractor is sending an approved Xcel Energy electrician as soon as possible to make the necessary repairs."

Sanders smart meter will eventually be installed. Her trust in the company, however, will take some time to heal.

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