Xcels energy upgrade has neighbors irritated

Xcels energy upgrade has neighbors irritated

They are angry over a multi-million dollar project which will upgrade a transmission line servicing central Denver.

People living near the new poles say they were never contacted about the project and they do not like it.

Xcel Energy got started on this project three years ago, a spokesperson says, and they went through all the necessary steps including public notification.

In a written statement Xcel says project discussion began in 2003 at which time they filed for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Xcel says they then began construction in August after discussions, extensive planning and they maintain appropriate steps were followed in the city process.

However, neighbors say if that is the case, it is simply not enough.

“This thing just appeared out of no where. Some medieval monster,” said neighbor Louis Bernier.

The ‘mental monstrosity’ Bernier describes sits across the street from his front yard on south Lipan and west Virginia.

Bernier is not the only concerned neighbor.

Neighbor Garrett Reeves told 9NEWS, “It’s a significant distraction in the neighborhood. There’s nothing this tall over here.”

The tower is not the only distraction for neighbors. There are also poles which are almost twice as tall as others in the area.

Julie Connor, senior advisor to Councilwoman Kathleen Mackenzie says, “They’re ugly, they’re huge and the neighbors living here didn’t know anything about the project.”

The $19 million Xcel Energy upgrade project will mean higher voltage lines, higher transmission poles and towers.

Xcel Energy spokesperson Mark Stutz says, “We’re concerned about the reliability in this area and that if we don’t do this upgrade we could be facing power outages and we know from experience that customers like that least of all.”

Neighbors are still wondering why they did not have more input in the project.

“All of these projects and things should be able to go through the public and public hearings,” said Bernier.

Stutz said, “Perhaps in hindsight that would have been the thing to do. But we feel like we did meet the notification requirements with the neighborhood groups with the city council with the newspaper ads.”

The project was scheduled for completion in 2007, but at this point it is on hold.

Many neighbors wonder if there really is anything they can do to stop what has already started. A community meeting for neighbors in the S. Lipan area is scheduled for Tuesday to keep residents up-to-date on the project status. Another meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the park-side of the issue.

Xcel says the delay in the project may compromise future ability to meet increased electricity demand for summer air-conditioning and other needs in 2007.

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