On Dec. 30, 2021, electrical power supplied by Xcel Energy in Denver was shut off at approximately 6 p.m. to parts of Alamosa, Rio Grande and Saguache counties as a result of the tragic fires around Boulder.
I talked with our 911 dispatch, who notifies all emergency agencies, local hospitals and long-term care facilities to see if they were notified before the power was shut off.
They all told me they were not warned that power would be turned off, although it was reported on Jan. 4 by Denver Xcel media representative Michelle Aguayo that notifications were sent to SLV counties.
All agencies that supply emergency services to our communities learned of the outage when it occurred and after their normal hours of operation. It was reported that at several facilities, electric doors could not be opened thereby leaving professional personnel or clients either locked in or locked out of rooms.
The extreme possibilities for various people have led me to encourage our San Luis Valley residents to do several things. If you encountered a concerning health threat during the outage, please join with us and contact your elected officials and emergency response agencies in your county to address this problem with Excel Energy, Denver, to prevent a worse emergency in the future.
Individuals requiring oxygen should register to receive a reverse 911 call warning them of outages. Register for this service online at SLVE911.org