Two days after the much ballyhooed bomb cyclone hit Colorado, thousands of customers are still without power, and the majority of them are in the Denver area. At this hour, more than 28,000 metro-area residents remain in the dark.
Progress is being made. Xcel Energy estimates the total number of Colorado customers who experienced storm-related outages at 400,000, and by 7 p.m. on March 13, the day the storm hit, power had been restored to 235,000 of them.
To assist the remaining 165,000 people, Xcel pledged to import 150 workers from states north of Colorado to supplement local employees working around the clock.
That number has reportedly been doubled to 300 extra crew members. According to Xcel spokeswoman Hollie Velasquez Horvath, "With the rain, snow and high winds, it was a combination of a storm and a statewide emergency where we had many poles broken — feeders that went out."
Late last night, March 14, Xcel stated that 47,000 Coloradans remained electricity-free — and at 5:57 a.m. today, the company's electric outage map, which allows users to look at different parts of the state, showed that 28,304 people in metro Denver were affected by 1,857 outages.
By the way, the total figure for statewide without electricity at that time was 28,658 — meaning that fewer than 400 Xcel patrons elsewhere in the state are in this particular boat. However, it's important to note that most of Colorado's citizenry outside Denver gets power from municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives. This map provides more information.
Here's a screen capture from the map showing a wide-angle view of greater Denver, including major suburbs.
The circled numbers stand for the number of outages in a specific geographic zone.
For example, the "71" near Santa Fe and Sixth Avenue represents 71 separate outages, which have left 1,430 customers without power.
The "115" close to Interstate 70 and Interstate 25 actually has resulted in fewer people sans juice despite the greater number of outages. In that vicinity, 966 Xcel customers have been impacted.
It's the opposite situation for the "61" to the northeast of the words "Wheat Ridge." There, 2,079 people are still disconnected. And the "93" partially covering Glendale represents 1,780 people still unable to switch on the lights.
The following zoom-in screen grab offers more insight on a neighborhood level.
In this map, grabbed at 5:25 a.m., the blue dots stand for small numbers of customers (some are actually single individuals) and the green and yellow dots equate to more people.
The yellow dot on East 39th east of the Park Hill Golf Club didn't reveal any data at 5:30 a.m., when the map was accessed. However, the green dot nearest the intersection of Colorado and Bruce Randolph depicts 85 impacted customers. Another green dot west on Bruce Randolph approaching York stands for 84 customers. Those outages were first reported between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 14.
The total view of the second map constitutes 111 outage orders affecting 1,735 customers in neighborhoods such as North Park Hill, Whittier, Skyland and Clayton.
Xcel's Horvath acknowledges that "it's inconvenient for customers to be out of power, especially during a storm like this, so we appreciate their patience." The company promises that it will work throughout today and the weekend, if necessary, to get everyone back online.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.