WINDSOR, Colo. (CBS4) – Residents in the ever-growing portions of Northern Colorado, Timnath and Windsor, say they’ve experienced power outages daily for one week. The outages, some lasting more than 22 hours, came as Colorado set multiple records for high temperatures.
“It’s been horrible,” said Sara Ricord, a new resident of northern Windsor.
The neighborhoods experiencing the daily Xcel Energy outages are those which have been developed in the past eight years. Most of the homes without power were built in the past 18 months.
Xcel Energy confirmed 4,342 customers went without power throughout the week of outages. Xcel said they set a new all-time record for peak energy demand on the electric system on Tuesday when Denver hit 101 degrees.
“It’s been incredibly frustrating. Incredibly frustrating,” said Bernadette Pivarunas, a resident. “This was not the week. Two or three days in a row it was over 100 degrees, it was a scorcher.”
Pivarunas, a developmental psychologist, said she had to cancel multiple virtual appointments with patients due to the outages. Her home climbed to nearly 90 degrees indoors multiple times.
“The heat was brutal,” Pivarunas said. “Everything, stove, water, cell phone, Netflix and Hulu. It is all gone.”
She ended up purchasing an expensive generator to power her basic necessities. The generator weighed hundreds of pounds. By the time she assembled it and turned it on it was late at night. When she powered it on, the generator was very loud. To respect her neighbors sleeping with windows open, she only ran the generator for 45 minutes per night.
Ricord, the mother of three children living with autism, said the issue went from an inconvenience to a threat to her family’s health.
“Having three special needs kids without power has been extremely detrimental to our lives,” Ricord told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “My son is on oxygen and feeding tubes. And, not having access to electricity has prevented his medical care.”
Ricord, a single mother, eventually took her children to a hotel with reliable electricity. After that became costly, she relocated her family to Vail where they could stay with her children’s father.
Ricord said she had no other option. Her son’s body temperature skyrocketed while in the heat at her home.
“His body temperature reached 103, and that is when we evacuated,” Ricord said.
Multiple families moved into camper trailers set out outside of their homes with generators plugged in to keep the smaller space cool. Others had to throw out hundreds of dollars worth of food after refrigerators and freezers caused food to spoil.
Xcel Energy sent CBS4 the following statement:
“We understand the inconvenience and frustration our customers feel and reassure them our crews do everything they can to resolve power outage issues. Our crews worked throughout the week to investigate the cause of the outages in the Windsor and Timnath area while also working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power.
“We believe the cause of the equipment failure, due in part to the high heat and storms, has been identified and repaired. Approximately 4,342 customers in Northern Colorado were impacted by the outages.
Some residents pointed the blame at the Town of Windsor and the Town of Timnath for failing to prepare the power grid for the influx in residents prior to granting building permits.
“I don’t feel safe with (my kids) being here at all,” Ricord said. “We’ve ended up in a half-million dollar house with third world country electricity reliability. And that is unacceptable.”
It’s been 15 years since the Denver metro area has experienced such hot temperatures so early in the summer season.