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A lineman works to fix Colorado Springs Utilities’ poles  along Nevada Avenue at sunset Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, to restore power to residents without electricity in Colorado Springs. A windstorm ripped through El Paso County on Dec. 15, 2021, causing major damages to trees, homes, sidewalks and power lines. Utilities’ crews are working around the clock to fix utility lines and restore power to residents still facing outages in areas.

Joel Sanders has been living for nearly a week with little to no power.

That's how long it's been since Sanders, who lives off of Boulder Street near UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, had the majority of his power knocked out after a raging windstorm swept through Colorado Springs Dec. 15, bringing with it gusts that exceeded 90 miles per hour. The storm left 47,000 residents without power at the outage's peak, according to officials from Colorado Springs Utilities.

The vast majority of customers have been restored, with 17 out of service as of Tuesday afternoon, according to a 1 p.m. update from Colorado Springs Utilities on the agency's website. Sanders is one of the unlucky few. 

His home, a two-story house, lost all power on the second floor. He had limited power on the first, he said. 

"I had a little bit (of power) downstairs, but the line feeding my house was in a bind," Sanders said. "The power cable was actually doing the double duty as the support holding up the line that had (a) tree limb  ... on it."

He took caution not to overuse large appliances during the outage, he said.

"I didn't want to use things too much. (I) couldn't use the dryer, couldn't use the oven, because that pulls a lot of amps," Sanders said. "That will heat those wires up, and if it's strained and if it gets hot then it can give way, (it) can spark (and) we have a fire, I don't know what."

Sanders retained his refrigerator and freezer, which he used sparingly, and gently used the heating system in his house, he said.

That was Sanders' situation until around 5:25 a.m. Monday, when utilities crews fully cut power to his house without warning, he said.

 That made him "very angry," Sanders said.

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"I understand they're in a bind and they got trouble, but I think somebody could have called me up. ... It could have been a heads up instead of just a blindside." 

Colorado Springs Utilities announced Monday it was working around the clock since the windstorm and is now shifting from "response" to "recovery" operations. Customers still without power either have greater post-storm cleanup needs, separate hazards resulting from storm damage, or other technically challenging issues slowing repair, the agency said on its website.

"We are conducting final customer outreach and restoration to ensure all impacted customers are safely back in service," the utility said.

Since power was cut from his home completely, Sanders said he and his daughter have been using a generator. 

The issue is complicated. Sanders' home has a mast that feeds power from the electrical lines overhead to the home. That mast, which belongs to Sanders as the homeowner, has to be fixed before Colorado Springs Utilities can restore power. The agency released information about fixing masts during the height of outages last week. In essence, a licensed contractor has to make the fix. 

For Sanders, most of the money needed to fix the mast and restore power is coming out of pocket. A contractor is coming to take a look at the mast Wednesday. 

It's tough, Sanders said, especially around the holidays. He said it's difficult not being able to keep food warm. Sanders said he used his grill to cook dinner one night and his daughter, who worked late, came home to a lukewarm plate. 

Sanders compared the situation to the pandemic in that it forces people to think about things in a different mindset. 

"It makes your world shrink," Sanders said. 

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