DENVER (CBS4) – Frustration is boiling over in Denver’s Elyria Swansea neighborhood, as a natural gas outage stretched into a sixth day Monday. Xcel Energy says 700 customers were initially affected, and on Monday evening, about half had service again.
Around the north Denver neighborhood, a maze of cones and contractors have filled the streets for almost a week. To say Lilia Uribe has grown tired of the scene, would be an understatement.
“[I’m] frustrated more than mad because they don’t let us know exactly when it’s going to get fixed,” Uribe said. “At first, they say, next day, and then next day, by Sunday, and today is Monday and it’s still the same.”
Uribe’s home is one of hundreds that lost natural gas service last Wednesday. Since then, many neighbors have been without hot water and unable to cook in their own kitchens, instead relying on their outdoor grills or food trucks provided by Xcel to get a warm meal.
“We recognize this impact is tremendous, but we also appreciate the support we have from the community,” said Kelly Flenniken, director of community relations for Xcel.
According to Xcel, the issue began when crews found water in a gas line last Wednesday.
“A water line damaged our infrastructure in the Swansea neighborhood. As a result of this damage, water poured from the third party’s water line, entering our gas system and extensively damaging it as well as our customers’ gas meters. This has resulted in the outages we’ve seen in the last several days,” a statement from the company read.
“All of our system has needed to be rebuilt in this neighborhood, including each and every individual home’s gas meter,” Flenniken said.
According to Flenniken, recent weather slowed that process even more, but on Monday evening, about 367 homes had their gas restored.
“I thought it was just going to be a quick fix, but it hasn’t,” said resident Sarah Olmos. “Hopefully today will be our day to get it back on.”
Olmos, who lives on Columbine Street, was among the hundreds of people still waiting for service to be restored. She’s a longtime resident of the neighborhood that’s been pushed to its limit by years of closures and disruption and hopes it will all soon be over.
“It’s just been a headache, a really bad headache,” Olmos said. “The mixture of the new highway and the mixture of this combined together has been a nightmare.”
On Monday, Xcel provide food trucks again at Lorraine Granado Community Park and Swansea Elementary School. The company will bring the trucks back Tuesday, if necessary, Flennikan said.
Xcel is also offering shower vouchers good for the Eagle Point Recreation Center in Commerce City and the downtown YMCA.