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Xcel Energy responds to customer concerns following windstorm-related outages

Xcel Energy
Posted at 5:45 PM, Apr 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-09 07:43:11-04

DENVER — Xcel Energy officials are answering questions surrounding their decision to cut power to 55,000 customers before Saturday’s windstorm.

Hollie Velasquez Horvath, regional vice president of Xcel Energy, said the company used an intense scientific analysis before deciding to shut off power to certain areas.

“That involves both evaluating the National Weather Service information on what type of wind, how high the winds are going to be, in addition to the topography of the community, or the area, and also the fuel source. And the fuel source could be a combination between live and dead fuel source on the ground,” Velasquez Horvath said. “We came up with the conclusion that this type of wind event along with the fuel source combination was in the top 3% of an event that we have ever experienced in Colorado. And that was the decision to move forward with proactively shutting off power to those customers.”

Velasquez Horvath said Xcel Energy started holding meetings with customers in Boulder County on Monday morning to address concerns surrounding the decision.

“We met with a lot of different stakeholders with Boulder County this morning. We've had two different small business town halls that we have also done this morning, as well, upwards of 115 folks that have participated in those. In addition to that, we already have a couple of community sessions currently being scheduled so that we can gain feedback from our customers to make sure that we are continuing to improve how we respond to the power safety shut-off,” Velasquez Horvath said.

Velasquez Horvath said Xcel does not have plans to compensate customers at this time.

“There has been a lot of questions around compensation. We do not typically compensate our customers for any type of, you know, impact that they would have had due to a storm event,” Velasquez Horvath said.

Xcel Energy responds to customer concerns following windstorm-related outages

Denver7 heard from several customers who said they did not receive enough notice before the shut-off. Xcel said it currently does not have a standard policy regarding outage notifications.

“Typical industry standard is about 72 hours. So we're going to try really hard to make sure that we're giving it as much advance notice. In addition to that, we also had a lot of feedback around our outage map and that customers were having a hard time deciphering between if they were impacted because of the storm event or if they were impacted because of the power safety shut-off,” Velasquez Horvath said.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is also gathering feedback from utility customers regarding the event. Impacted Coloradans can follow this link to provide feedback.

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