News Archive

April 9, 2024

Xcel’s Power Outage in Boulder County

A Message from the Boulder County Commissioners

Xcel Energy has confirmed that most customers had power restored by yesterday evening and the remaining outages, impacting about 2,000 residents, should have power restored by today.

You may have read in statements from Xcel in the media or on the Boulder Office of Disaster Management website that Xcel preemptively turned off power on Saturday, April 6, to mitigate against possible wildfire risk resulting from predicted dangerously high winds. This outage affected about 55,000 customers. Damaging winds created additional outages, impacting another 100,000 customers across the Front Range.

As Boulder County is still recovering from the devastation of the Marshall Fire, we welcome efforts to protect our community. We also know that high winds are a common occurrence in the Foothills and that two or three days without power may create serious financial hardship and impacts to the health and wellbeing of our community, especially those without access to other accommodation or resources, and we hear and share your frustration. We know that these disruptions do not impact everyone equally.

Throughout the high wind event, the Office of Disaster Management, staffed by Boulder County and City of Boulder, was in touch with Xcel, making clear that clear communication to residents about power outages to residents and business owners was, and is, essential.

We, and elected officials from the municipalities, met with Xcel leadership yesterday to understand why Xcel implemented a proactive power outage, to ask questions about what this means for future wind events in our community, and to ask for clearer, more concise, and more timely communications. We also questioned the necessity for the extent of the preventive outages. Xcel leadership explained that proactive power outages are a small, but crucial part of their emerging wildfire mitigation strategy in the service territory and provided assurances that they understand that better communications are needed, and they are working to improve them. They explained that proactive outages are used in extraordinary circumstances (i.e. not for every Red Flag warning), and it is possible that proactive outages may happen again. They also explained that after surveying the damage caused by the winds, they believe their proactive action was crucial for mitigating potential fires.

We’ve urged Xcel to share this information with the community and we will continue to push for clearer and more proactive communications from Xcel in the future.

Questions about outages and service restoration should continue to be directed to Xcel as the service provider. Non-emergency queries for public safety can be directed to the Office of Disaster Management 303-413-7730, and in the case of emergency, always dial 911.

The Office of Disaster Management website will be updated until this event is considered to be over, likely later today.

Claire Levy, Marta Loachamin, and Ashley Stolzmann

Boulder County Commissioners

Collage of all three Boulder County Commissioners