Xcel says flooding ‘unprecedented,’ wants to hurry with restoration before fall

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An Xcel truck holding up a power pole in Evergreen Monday Sept. 16, 2013.

DENVER — Xcel Energy said Tuesday that the flooding along the Front Range and northeast plains counties is an “unprecedented situation” and wants to move quickly to restore services before temperatures drop in the fall.

“We are working with a strong sense of urgency as temperatures begin to dip, especially in mountain areas,” said spokesperson Gabriel Romero. “Restoring service after this disaster is definitely not business as usual for us.”

Xcel said it is working with local agencies to go into effected areas and when its safe and make repairs.

“We will make temporary repairs, in some cases, to restore service to customers and return later to make permanent repairs,” Romero said.

As of Tuesday morning 4,600 customers, mainly in Boulder County and Lyons, were without gas service. Xcel said 517 customers were without electricity, 275 in Boulder and 242 in Greeley.

Here are additional updates from Xcel:

Boulder County: Approximately 275 customers in Gold Run, Fourmile Canyon and other areas remain without electricity until we gain access to and replace several utility poles. In Coal Creek Canyon we have begun re-pressurizing a natural gas line serving an area just beyond the entrance to Blue Mountain Estates along Highway 72. Crews are planning to shut off residential gas meters today in the Pinebrook area in preparation to re-pressurize lines. Please note, however that re-pressurizing a line does not mean customers will have service soon as there are other steps to be taken before that occurs.
We will use boring equipment near Highway 36 and Middle Fork. A crew will begin shutting off natural gas valves and inspecting them for damage. We may check residential meters in the area too if time and personnel are available.

City of Boulder: As water recedes, we continue replacing electricity poles to restore service to 149 customers in the 300 block of Arapahoe Avenue. We anticipate finishing this work late tonight.

Denver: Electricity service has been restored to 44 customers near 144th between Irving and Washington as water levels decreased enough for us to repair equipment.

Greeley: We have restored electricity to 53 customers in the area of West 1st Avenue and County Road 394 affected by a downed power pole. Water levels continue to prevent us from restoring service and repairing or replacing several damaged power poles, affecting service to approximately 242 customers.

Longmont: A section of pipeline near County Road 29 and Waterdale was damaged on Monday. Natural gas was turned off, affecting service to 88 customers. Today the line will be re-pressurized and tested.

Morgan County: Crews will start to re-light natural gas appliances in Weldona and the Fort Morgan County Club area.

Sterling: Areas of town remain underwater. Damage to a natural gas pipeline yesterday forced us to shut off some equipment and in-home meters, creating an outage for 20 customers. This brings the total number of customers without natural gas service in Sterling to approximately 250. Despite water in the electric substation in Sterling, we have been able to maintain electricity service to the town.

Weld County: We will cut and cap a three-inch natural gas line that crosses the river near North Quentin Avenue and Highway 60. This operation could restore power to the Johnstown water treatment plant.