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Power restoration work a 24-hour operation

CSU Lineman.jpg
Posted at 7:27 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 01:42:20-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Power restoration work is a continuous operation for crews from Colorado Springs Utilities. At any given hour, there are at least eight four-man crews working to repair or replace damaged power poles.

"We're working 16 hours shifts with 8 hours rest to make sure that we're using every hour available in that effort," explained Travas Deal, Chief Operations Officer for Colorado Springs Utilities.

An estimated 40,000 outages were reported during the height of the storm. By Thursday evening that number was reduced to 7,600.

Deal anticipates that the work could last through Friday.

"Our crews will continue to work that 24/7 schedule until every customer is restored," he said. "But right now, we're anticipating through tomorrow before we're seeing all of the restorations back."

It's a similar story for utility providers throughout Southern Colorado. Around noon Thursday, Black Hills Energy reported 1,800 outages in Pueblo, 600 in Canon City, and roughly 2,000 in the Rocky Ford area.

Crews with San Isabel Electric Association restored power for 350 customers Thursday. Another 260 remain without power overnight including 100 in Costilla County, 150 in Huerfano County and 10 in Las Animas County.

The biggest source of the outages are downed trees that fell onto power lines. Deal said an estimated 50 poles need to be replaced throughout the city. That work can take between 6 to 8 hours per pole.

"We try to restore those bigger areas first to get as many areas back with the same amount of man-hours, so some of those smaller outages will take the most time, and those are the ones that will take in through tomorrow," he said.

The linemen from those repair crews prepared for the storm earlier this week by getting rested and ready to deploy. Deal explained that it wasn't safe to send them out before about 4:00 p.m. Wednesday because the wind was still blowing.

"We're not able to actually safely get in the air with them bucket trucks until the winds are below 35 miles per hour, which anybody in the impacted area knew that that was pretty substantial up into the afternoon," he said.

Customers who have not yet reported power outages can contact Colorado Springs Utilities at 719-448-4800.

Black Hills Energy

In an update from Black Hills Energy in Pueblo, as of 5:00 pm on Thursday less than 1,600 total customers across all Black Hills Energy communities remain without power. A total of over 27,000 customers were without power in the area as of Wednesday afternoon.

Black Hills has several safety reminders they want the community to be aware of:

  1. If your power goes out, see if your neighbors have power. If they do, check your home for blown fuses or a tripped circuit breaker.
  2. If your neighbors don't have power or if you can't locate the problem, contact us immediately by calling our emergency number at 1-800-890-5554.
  3. If you see damaged outdoor electric power equipment, please contact us at 1-800-890-5554.
  4. Do not try to remove any debris if it is on a powerline or outdoor electrical equipment.
  5. If you are outdoors, never touch or attempt to pick up a fallen powerline. Assume any downed power line is energized.
  6. During an outage, unplug sensitive computer and electronic equipment or protect them with a high-quality surge protector.

If homeowners have mast damage on their roof from the wind, they will need to have a licensed contractor repair it before power can be restored.

Black Hills Energy says no media or pedestrians should be going up and speaking to utility crews, for the safety of everyone involved.

To receive outage notification on your mobile device, please log into your Black Hills Energy account at: https://www.blackhillsenergy.com/ or 800-890-5554 for customer support.