Gas outage has residents, Xcel scrambling
January 16, 2007
Aspen, CO Colorado GRAND JUNCTION A frozen pipeline on Douglas Pass blocked natural gas services for thousands of Grand Valley residents, who looked at more record-cold temperatures Monday night. It may be 24 hours or more until all gas service has been restored, the Mesa County Sheriffs Office said of Mondays gas outage, which Xcel Energy officials said may have impacted some 2,000 customers across the Grand Valley. Xcel on Monday called in staff from across the state to help the area cope: Some 35 Xcel workers were expected to be in town by 5 p.m. Typically, the energy provider has about eight in the valley, according to Xcel spokesman Fred Eggleston. At its peak Monday at 1 p.m., Xcel crews had received 800 work order calls. Well be working all through the night to re-light pilot lights, Eggleston said. And whatever we dont get to tonight will get done tomorrow. Some six areas were reporting no, or limited, gas service on Monday: Loma, south of Highway 6 & 50 to Interstate 70 between 11 1/ 2 Road and 14 Road. Fruita interchanges between 17 Road and 18 Road south of the interstate to the Colorado River. Grand Junction, Walker Field Airport to 26 Road north of I-70. Clifton, 31 Road to 33 roads south of the Business Loop to C 1/2 Road. Orchard Mesa, 29 Road to 31 Road north of U.S. Highway 50 to B Road. Grand Junction, 21 Road to 24 Road north of I-70 to K Road. At lot of these folks may be at work and wont know their service is out until theyre home (Monday night), said Tim Moore, city of Grand Junctions assistant public works director. Residents still without natural gas services, or those needing help re-lighting pilot lights on furnaces, should call Xcel Energy at (800) 895-2999. Eggleston said a natural gas line operated by an Xcel supplier in the Douglas Pass area froze Sunday night they werent sure when. Basically it was a well head that froze, Eggleston said. We started to notice pressure dropping in our system around 6 a.m and we had pressure back in the line about three hours after. This sort of things happened before on the Front Range, never here. With subzero temperatures again Monday night, officials were urging affected customers to make plans with friends or family. The Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at Canyon View Vineyard Church, 736 24 1 /2 Road. Eight volunteers stacked makeshift beds and blankets early in the evening inside an empty church auditorium. If we dont have anybody by 9:30 p.m., well shut down, said Red Cross volunteer John Miller. Miller and fellow volunteer Kenneth Topliss participated in an afternoon meeting at the sheriffs office, where the county had located an incident command center. One guy there said hed lost gas in his home, but right across the street its fine, Topliss said. Its just real spotty like that. Paul Shockley is a reporter at the Grand Junction Free Press.