Aspen faces hour without power |

Aspen faces hour without power

Aspen Times Staff

Almost the entire city of Aspen lost power just before the lunch hour Tuesday when two Holy Cross Energy transformers suddenly shut down.The outage occurred shortly after 11 a.m., apparently while Xcel Energy crews were working at a new electrical substation under construction near Snowmass Village.The substation is owned by Holy Cross but operated by Xcel, and workers were doing some routine work, said Wade Haerle of Xcel.An older substation at the Aspen Airport Business Center, which serves Aspen and is linked to the new Snowmass Village substation, “sensed an imbalance in the load” of current it was carrying and shut down two of the three transformers at the substation to avoid an overload, said Holy Cross member services supervisor Steve Casey. Haerle termed the monitoring mechanism a “fail-safe trigger.”It took about an hour for repair crews to get the transformers back in service, at 12:03 p.m.A news release from the city of Aspen said the town’s “entire municipal service area as well as significant portions of Holy Cross Energy’s service territory in the upper valley,” stretching from the intersection of Owl Creek Road and Highway 82 into Aspen, lost service. The outage didn’t affect Snowmass Village, and Casey said the new substation, located near the village cemetery above Highline Road, is to be powered up and operating soon.Xcel does not serve the upper Roaring Fork Valley but has customers in Carbondale and outside Glenwood Springs.

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