Xcel's Power Problems Persist
*10 years* of continual power outages in Boulder Pointe & our effort to motivate Xcel Energy
September 19, 2007 Email
Email from Eden Prairie resident NOT in the Boulder Pointe development but experiencing similar issues to ours:
I read about your website and campaign in the EP News last week and felt compelled to write you about our neighborhood in Eden Prairie which continually suffers power outages - including 10 hours and counting last night (9/18-19) as of 8AM this morning when I left for the office.
We live on Partridge Circle in the Hidden Ponds subdivision (major intersection is Valley View Road & Dell Road).We have buried power lines, so no overhead issues.
We moved in on May 1, 2000 and have incurred at least 5-6 power outages a year for the past 7 years. Some are storm related and I understand, but many occur on days with no adverse conditions. The outages range from 2-4 hours in length on the “short” end to up to 3 days on the “extreme” end.
Last night the power went out around 10PM and I called Xcel who told me that there were 74 homes affected and they needed to “replace an overhead fuse”…. They assured me the power would be back on by 1AM. As previously stated, at 8AM today the power was still off, and Xcel’s response this morning was that they “didn’t have an update as to when power would be restored”.
I’m 45 years old, and I’ve lived in Illinois (Commonwealth Edison), Wisconsin (WI Power), Spain (2 yrs), & Mexico (3 yrs) and I’ve never experienced the poor level of reliable electrical service as I have in the past seven years in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. It’s appalling that I can receive more reliable service in Spain & Mexico than I can in Minneapolis.
I appreciate your efforts and would be willing to mobilize more neighbors in the Hidden Ponds development to help your cause with both the city of Eden Prairie and Xcel Energy. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss anything I can do to help.
Here's how I replied to Mr. Mowcomber:
Thank you for reaching out and believe me, I feel your pain! Four items of note:
1) I've CC'ed Scott Neal, our Eden Prairie City Manager since without him and his engagement, involvement and call-to-action for Xcel, I would've achieved zero traction on identifying and understanding our power outage problem and, most importantly, to understand the project roadmap on exactly how it is being addressed AND FIXED by Xcel Energy.
I've also CC'ed your neighbor and my colleague, Janice Carlson, whose household is near yours affected as you'll see in #2 below. In addition, I've CC'ed the three folks from Xcel Energy that we (Scott Neal EP City Manager, David Lindahl, EP Economic Director and myself) met with on September 5th to discuss Boulder Pointe and our power outage problem.
I'm certain the Xcel Energy folks would be amenable to addressing your outage affected area of Eden Prairie in this email and would invite them to do so.
2) I read your email at my office before lunch (we're a couple of blocks from City Hall) to one of our people, the aforementioned Janice, who lives in your same neighborhood. She had NO idea of my involvement with the City and Xcel on power outages until I read the email. Ironically she called in this morning to let us know she'd be late due to the power outage as she had to attend to their generator. She then regaled us with stories of power outages (frequency stories like yours) as well as one about Xcel digging a "grave sized hole" to do work in her front yard that required her to resort to a demand it be filled or covered before a previous Halloween so kids wouldn't fall in!
I thought my neighborhood was atypical and isolated...but after the newspaper articles you referenced in your email people have been contacting me about their own problems in other parts of the city. I'm realizing that the Eden Prairie power outage issue is more widespread than I had realized.
3) Don't know if you've seen it yet, but I put together a web site recapping this issue intended as a tool for keeping my neighbors up to date: steveborsch.com/power-is-out. With your permission, I'd like to reprint your email on the site (without your business info or email addresses on it, of course) so visitors to the site understand the scope of the problem and its wider footprint.
On the site area entitled, "Background", you'll discover the nature of our problem here in Boulder Pointe that also affects Kroll OnTrack, the business referenced in the newspaper articles. What I do NOT know is if the proposed $1.2M Westgate feeder project will positively affect you and your neighbor's power outage problems or if something else needs to be done to the Eden Prairie power infrastructure.
In that "Background" area on the web site, you'll see an email trail of my adventure trying to obtain a fix. I'd suggest as a first step allowing the man responsible for Eden Prairie ( Roger W Johnson at email@example.com or 952-829-4538 whom I've CC'ed on this email) to address your problem and what they're doing (or not doing) to provide you and your neighbors with a permanent fix. If email exchanges commence, I'd appreciate a CC on any as I'm sure Scott Neal would as well.
4) Xcel Energy has clearly articulated the infrastructure investments and efforts underway in Eden Prairie but again, what I don't know is how the Westgate feeder fix affects you and whether or not the fix encompassing our area will positively affect you and your neighbors. The outcome Xcel has indicated they're working toward is to bring our entire Eden Prairie community up to the status someone like you -- who has lived in countries where unreliable electricity is a given -- expect in the United States and what we all pay for as quality of service (QoS).
Last-but-certainly-not-least a bit of cheerleading: you should know that we have hyper-aware and committed city management to ensure we have the best QoS and that Eden Prairie enjoys a world-class utility infrastructure. Mr. Neal and his colleague, Mr. Lindahl, are focused on ensuring that completion of the Westgate feeder project is accomplished by the promised mid-May 2008 date. If there are *other* outstanding infrastructure problems causing your power outage problem, I'm confident that they will request Xcel's project plans for your area and focus on a positive outcome for you as well.
Feel free to call me any time. You can reach me at the number below during business hours or my home number is: 952.xxx.xxxx.