PUEBLO WEST, CO – San Isabel Electric Association, Inc. has been in “all hands on deck” mode responding to the substantial power outage occurring on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. About 12% of the Membership lost power at some point within the duration of the massive outage which lasted nearly 40 hours. As of 5PM on Wednesday the 18th, all impacted-Members have power restored. Relentless winter weather, road closings and high winds made this outage uniquely challenging. SIEA took every measure to keep crews safe while restoring power to Members in some of the most rural and remote areas of the cooperative’s region.
At its worst, approximately 2,600 SIEA Members experienced an outage. That number lessened with each passing hour as crews worked diligently to restore power. The outage spanned areas including: Trinidad, El Moro, Hoehne, Branson, Trinchera, Cuchara and Walsenburg. The outage was first reported early Tuesday morning around 1:30AM. Crews began working 16-hour shifts in perhaps the roughest conditions of their careers. By Tuesday night at 5PM, roughly 80% of Members had their power re-stored.
245 Members were still without power as of Wednesday morning at 7AM. Crews from all three service areas, Trinidad, La Veta and Pueblo West, were called to the outage areas in effort to make safe and effective repairs. Keeping the crews safe while restoring power is the pinnacle goal of SIEA therefore, linemen worked the 16:8 schedule, 16 hours of work and a mandatory 8-hour rest before returning to work.
In addition to harsh weather conditions, road closures posed an added obstacle in getting crews to where they needed to be. Nonetheless, the San Isabel team went around their usual routes, through perilous conditions out of devotion to their jobs and to get critical power back to Members in below-freezing conditions. The heart of these teams is evident and unsurpassed.
SIEA Chief Operations Officer, Darryl Stewart, spoke to the length of time without power, “Weather and road conditions slowed our restoration efforts, so we want to thank our Members for their patience and let our field workers know how much we appreciate their time and effort in such adverse conditions.”
SIEA communications kept local media updated throughout the outage. Siea.com and the SIEA Facebook Page were updated with every development. These tools keep Members in-the-know when their power is out via the mobile app. If you have a Facebook, “Like” San Isabel to access live information.
As a not-for-profit cooperative utility, San Isabel Electric Association, Inc. provides electricity to rural communities throughout southern Colorado. Serving nearly 19,000 Member-owners and 24,000 meters, San Isabel Electric Association has been keeping the lights on since 1938.