Southern Colorado | Always Watching Out For You

Prolonged outages frustrate Black Forest residents

EL PASO COUNTY – Mountain View Electric Association restored power to most of the 22,000 homes in Eastern El Paso County and the Black Forest areas. As of 3:30 p.m. Friday, some 1,700 customers were still without power. The utility reports that around 2,000 homes in the Black Forest had their service restored Friday.

It’s a welcome relief for many who’ve gone without electricity since the blizzard hit Wednesday afternoon. Lewis Wakefield stocked up on bottled water and even bought a back-up generator a few years ago just for this type of storm. The trouble is, the generator wouldn’t start.

Mountain View Electric Association employees work to removed an uprooted tree from a power line near Davis Drive and Swan Road in the Black Forest Friday.”It was 23 degrees in the house,” Wakefield said of his frigid night last night.

Like many of the homes here, Wakefield has an electric powered furnace and gets water from a well that depends upon an electric pump. Wakefield has lived here for more than 30 years and said he’s never experienced an outage like this before.

“I don’t think I’ve been three days without power like we have so far in this episode,” Wakefield said.  “It’s not that we have not had power in the past, it’s just been that Mountain View has been much more responsive.”

LeeAnn Nilles and her son used snow shovels to dig out their mailboxes along Swan Road. She too has been without power since Wednesday.

“We’ve got babies and kids at home, it’s been a little rough,” she said.

Nilles home has a generator but it doesn’t provide enough power to operate her entire home.

“Only half the house is working,” she said. “We don’t have the oven, but we’ve got the stove.”

The generator isn’t providing enough power to get her well pump working either.

“We’re taking the snow outside, boiling water so we can flush our toilets,” she said.

Mountain View had 7 different crews working in the Black Forest on Friday, slowing bringing back power to various subdivisions. Many power poles along Shoup Road were damaged by fallen trees. The bigger challenge has been accessing individual lots where there are snow drifts several feet high. The company hopes to have power restored to most of its customers by 11:00 p.m. Friday night.

Andy Koen

Andy Koen

Andy is a reporter and anchor for KOAA-TV News 5. He joined the team in 2003.
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