Colorado residents bear brunt of power outage amid strong winds and high wildfire threat - Hindustan Times
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Colorado residents bear brunt of power outage amid strong winds and high wildfire threat

ByShweta Kukreti
Apr 07, 2024 05:32 PM IST

A power company in Colorado on Saturday announced that it will suspend power to about 55,000 customers as strong winds battered the state.

A power company in Colorado on Saturday announced that it will suspend power to about 55,000 customers as strong winds battered the state, prompting concerns of wildfire.

Xcel has urged customers in Colorado, who utilize medical equipment that it depends on, to take precautions in case of prolonged power outages.(Unsplash)
Xcel has urged customers in Colorado, who utilize medical equipment that it depends on, to take precautions in case of prolonged power outages.(Unsplash)

In a statement, Xcel Energy said customers in Boulder County and some areas close to Denver may witness power cuts beginning at 3 pm local time on Saturday and continuing until at least noon on Sunday.

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The power company “made the decision to proactively de-energize lines" but added that outages are likely to last longer that time frame because workers need to physically inspect the power cables.

“Temporarily shutting power off is intended to prevent our electric system from becoming the source of a wildfire ignition,” the firm added.

In a warning to the Denver area, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a red flag alert until Sunday, predicting gusts of wind up to 90 miles per hour in dry conditions.

In 2012, it was determined that Xcel had contributed to the start of the wind-driven Marshall Fire, which destroyed over 1,000 homes in the Boulder suburbs. The company recently admitted that the worst wildfire in Texas history was caused by a damaged electricity pole.

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Fire danger alerts issued for five state

As per the Storm Prediction Center, there is a high possibility of fresh fires developing and spreading quickly. They also predicted extremely critical fire conditions that could affect parts of southeast Colorado, the Oklahoma Panhandle, and southwest Kansas.

Fire danger alerts have been issued for five states, including Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma, according to the center.

While over 2.9 million people were in "critical" zones, which have the highest fire danger, more than 77,000 people were in "extreme" areas.

Despite Xcel's claims that they have tried to alert customers on Friday night, several outage zone homeowners alleged to have received minimal notification.

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Colorado people express outrage over power cuts

Speaking to 9News, Littleton resident Mike Raabe claimed that he was only informed four hours prior to the outage through an automated phone call. He said that he and his wife panicked after receiving the alert due to their dependency on electricity at night for medical reasons.

Xcel has urged customers, who utilize medical equipment that it depends on, to take precautions in case of prolonged power outages.

Meanwhile, the NWS advised residents in locations where strong winds are present to "avoid any activity that may produce a spark" and to stay inside if possible.

Additionally, it warned people against using outdoor stoves indoors for cooking or heating.

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