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Power Outages Hurting Businesses In Leadville

LEADVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) - Homeowners and businesses in Leadville say they've had enough of power outages.

Xcel Energy says having so many outages in a short time period is a rarity. The specific area didn't have a power outage all year until May. Since then there have been nine, and it's been getting worse. Just in the past week there have been four outages.

"All I know is when the lights go out we stop doing business," business owner Frank Nickle said.

"In all seriousness the customers had a right to be concerned and contact us about it because nine outages in 2 1/2 months is really more than we want," Mark Stutz with Xcel Energy said. "We know it's frustrating for them, it was frustrating for us too."

The outages last anywhere from just a few minutes all the way up to 4 1/2 hours.

"The months that we make money, in the summertime, are very, very critical, and we're right in the middle of that time period. It really hurts business. We can't pump gas, we can't run registers, we can't even flush the toilet," Nickle said. "On Tuesday we were out 4 1/2 hours and it cost us little over $4,000."

"Yesterday, in anticipation of continued outages, we brought in a portable generator so we could at least have our computers operating. We lose our food service and have the potential of losing all the food we have in storage," said Craig Stuller, Mount Massive Golf Course General Manager.

"In talking to the Xcel people, they don't seem to know what the problem is," Nickle said.

"They haven't been proactive in informing the people who have been affected in what's happening out here," Stuller said.

On Thursday Xcel told CBS4 crews scoured the area during Wednesday's outage and believe they fixed the problems.

"We obviously have to watch it for the next several days and weeks to make sure that that is the actual fix and make sure that we don't get any more outages," Stutz said.

Xcel says the problems were pretty simple -- either lines touching or guidelines holding poles in place were too lose. They may seem like minor issues, but the power system is made so that when even the smallest thing goes wrong the system shuts off to prevent an even larger problem.

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