‘There’s no lights’: After days in the dark, CSU works to restore power for all customers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Utility crews have been working around the clock to get power restored to thousands of customers who had their power knocked out by Wednesday’s blizzard.

Colorado Springs Utilities reports it had more than 50,000 customers without power during the height of the storm. Around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, CSU reported about 700 customers were still without power. By early Friday morning, that number was down to fewer than 200, and crews were hoping to have power restored to everyone by Friday night.

“If you see a crew, and your power isn’t restored, don’t worry we haven’t forgotten. You’re on the map and we will take care of you as soon as we can,” said Mark Murphy, with CSU.

Elsewhere in the county, Mountain View Electric Association, Inc. reports nearly 3,000 were still without power Friday morning. A spokesperson said there were upwards of 20,000 customers without power at one point.

MVEA said crews were still working to replace downed poles and power lines in Black Forest. They hope to have power restored there by the end of the day Friday. The spokesperson said there are 36 poles and lines down in Yoder and the work might last until Saturday before power is restored to that area.

Some people, like Kirk Kroschel, have been without power for nearly two days.

“I thought that maybe it would come back on right away,” he said. “I seriously did and then it just didn’t come back on, and it never came back on.”

Richard Ellson, Jr. said he and his wife have been bundled up inside their home since their power went out around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon.

“The sad thing is, we can’t cook,” Ellson said. “So that’s part of the problem, and we can’t get out of the garage because the electric doors don’t work.”

Murphy said crews are working day and night, but with so many customers affected, it takes a while to get everyone back up and running. He said they try to tackle areas where the most people are affected and then work their way down.

“We look at those circuits that support the most people, and we get those on first,” Murphy said. “Then we start working down to those customers that have individual outages. They might have a branch in their line or a downed power line.”

Many schools were back in session Friday after getting two snow days for the blizzard. But Queen Palmer Elementary School in District 11 was canceled because there was no power at the school.

“Due to a power outage from a downed electrical pole, and city repairs that will take place most of the day tomorrow, school will be cancelled for Queen Palmer Elementary School, Friday, March 15, 2019,” a message to parents posted on Facebook Thursday said.

According to outage maps, most look like they’ll be repaired by Friday evening. If your power was out for an extended period of time, be careful of the food that’s in your fridge. According to the FDA, even if the fridge door stays closed, food can go bad if power was out for more than four hours. The FDA says the food is only safe if it still has ice crystals or if its 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.