What spring? Winter storm knocks out power to nearly 503,000

The calendar might say that spring is here, but it might prove difficult to convince residents of Colorado as well as parts of the Midwest and Ontario, Canada, who have been coping with a severe winter storm.

A severe winter storm, which began impacting Colorado early on Wednesday morning, moved northeastward overnight across parts of the U.S. Midwest and into Ontario, Canada, knocking out power to at least 502,776 customers, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reported.

As of 3:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 24, there were 77,600 customers that remained without power. Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) which on Thursday afternoon updated its total number of affected customers to 305,174, said it had restored power to 93% of those customers and expects to reach 98% by Thursday night.

Complete restoration is anticipated on Friday and the utility said by Thursday evening it will have 825 – 850 team members working in the field, many of whom were sent from Black Hills Energy, OG&E, and Xcel Energy Texas as well as New Mexico.

Hydro One said its crews were responding to 146 incidents affecting an estimated 15,000 customers in Ontario.

Elsewhere, DOE reported that strong storms producing rain, gusty winds, and hail knocked out power to at least 30,044 customers in Louisiana and Texas Wednesday night into Thursday. Upshur Rural Electric, the hardest hit utility with 10,000 customer outages in Texas, reported numerous downed power lines and poles.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.