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Monsoon leaves Vail residents without power for almost two days

Posted at 11:01 PM, Jul 19, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — As Stephanie Oman played Monopoly with her two sons and their friend, she had to do her best to keep their minds off the extreme heat.

She lives in a rural part of Vail with not much around her except the dry desert.

However, even though she was having fun spending time with her kids, she couldn’t help but worry about her 14-year-old son Jacob’s diabetes.

That’s because the power in her house wasn’t on, which made it harder for her to monitor her son’s blood sugar. Electric equipment was attached to him and it sent information to Oman’s phone.

However, without power, she had to go to her car and spend hours charging her phone in there instead of inside her home.

“If we’re not able to continually monitor his blood sugar, he could very easily end up in the hospital. He could end up in DKA which is sometimes fatal,” Oman said.

That’s why he needs insulin, but even that needs to stay in the refrigerator, which left Oman feeling powerless.

“There’s nothing that you can do like just provide what they need, the basics,” she said.

Oman called TEP at least ten times, worried about her son’s health after being told a few times that the power would come back on, but it didn’t.

“They could bring out generators to help the people that are out here,” she said.

Even though her neighbors Steven Heathman and his wife Linda had a generator, they and their entire neighborhood rely on a well that uses electric pumps. That means when the power goes out, they don’t have water.

“In this residence, this is the longest I’ve been without power,” Heathman said.

Heathman also got told by TEP about six times in the past two days that his power would come back on, but that didn’t happen for a long time.

“I’d like some reliable information. If there’s going to be a prolonged outage like this and in the middle of the heat wave, this is a prolonged outage,” he said.

TEP said Monday’s storm damaged two poles that needed to be replaced, leaving 105 customers without power. They said because the poles were in a remote area with rocky terrain, it took more time to get to the poles. They also said their equipment broke down while trying to get there.

With no options to reroute the power, they said the poles needed physical repairs.

Meanwhile, they said they gave customers ice and five dollar vouchers.

However, as Oman was playing with Monopoly money, she was reminded that TEP’s 5 dollar voucher didn’t make up for the hotel she had to pay for and the ice she said she never got.

While the power is back on, she’s just hoping the next time the power goes out, TEP knows her son’s health isn’t a game.

“Just trying to get them to realize that people out here are trying to live and we can’t live without water and electricity,” Oman said.