Cable failure knocks out power |

Cable failure knocks out power

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Many Aspenites had to skip a shower before work Wednesday morning after discovering their power was out.

Some of them showed up not only unwashed, but late for work, as well, blaming alarm clocks that didn’t ring in the absence of electricity.

A cable failure on a pole along the Rio Grande Trail caused the outage, according to Bob Gardner, spokesman at Holy Cross Energy. The cable feeds electricity from a substation at the Aspen Business Center into Aspen.

Holy Cross records indicate the outage occurred at 5:15 a.m., but residents in some sections of Aspen say their power was out well before then.

The electricity ” and the heat ” in the Centennial housing complex went out at midnight on Tuesday, according to residents there. A resident of the Cemetery Lane neighborhood said her electricity went out shortly after 3 a.m.

Gardner was at a loss to explain the earlier outages.

About 1,800 Holy Cross consumers were affected, including those in Starwood, on Red Mountain and heading up Independence Pass. Much of the city also lost power. Although the core of Aspen is served by the city’s own municipal utility, the city and Holy Cross share parts of the system and the failed cable was feeding electricity from the substation into the municipal grid.

Early commuters into town found the traffic signal at Cemetery Lane functioning, but the signals on Main Street were out. Worse, popular breakfast spots and coffee shops were dark.

Santa caps proved popular wardrobe accessories yesterday with those sporting “bed heads” because they couldn’t wash and dry their hair before work.

Power was restored in stages, and the last of the customers who lost electricity had their lights back on by 8:45 a.m., Gardner said. Utility workers switched circuits to reroute electricity around the problem and then began repairs to the failed cable by midday on Wednesday.

As outages go, yesterday’s problem was an easy one, Gardner said.

“It was obvious, it was above ground, and we could get to it quickly,” he said.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is]

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