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Colorado Public Utility Commission to hold virtual public comment hearing on Xcel outages Wednesday

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Posted at 1:37 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-17 09:28:33-04

DENVER — The Colorado Public Utility Commission will host a virtual public comment hearing as part of the agency’s investigation into Xcel Energy’s decision to implement a precautionary outage ahead of a windstorm earlier this month.

The hearing will take place Wednesday at 4 p.m. on Zoom. Participants can register to speak here. A livestream of the hearing will be available here.

Additionally, the commission opened an online survey and comment form to seek immediate input.

Xcel Energy de-energized more than 600 miles of power lines — impacting 55,000 customers in northern Colorado — on April 6 ahead of a powerful windstorm that saw gusts of 100 mph at times.

The storm toppled trees leading to damaged homes and additional power outages for more than 100,000 customers across the Front Range. Power wasn’t fully restored for days after the storm.

The following week, Gov. Jared Polis directed the PUC to open an investigation into the precautionary outages, calling Xcel’s actions “unprecedented.”

The next day, the three-member commission voted unanimously to open a probe and examine the actions taken by the utility company during the storm.

The utility company said the preemptive outage was due to public safety concerns intended to reduce the risk of wildfire. A disconnected Xcel Energy power line was partially blamed for sparking the 2021 Marshall Fire in Boulder County that spread fast amid wind gusts of up to 115 mph.

A mass action lawsuit against Xcel Energy was filed last year, claiming the energy provider is to blame for the most destructive fire in Colorado history. However, the company maintains its equipment did not start the Marshall Fire and the April 6 prescribed outage was not in response to the lawsuit.

Xcel Energy responds to customer concerns following windstorm-related outages

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