Xcel Energy on Friday was hoping a week of heavy rains would subside and allow its utility crews to restore service in various areas west and north of metropolitan Denver on Colorado’s Front Range where there was a lot of flooding, inaccessible areas and exposed distribution pipelines.
One high-pressure transmission line in Boulder County was located near a road that was washed away, but gas service was not impacted, a Denver-based Xcel spokesperson told NGI.
While more than 2,500 gas utility customers were without service on Friday, very few outages were the result of breakage of distribution pipelines. Instead, most of the outages were ordered by the local fire officials or on the utility’s own initiative because of exposed parts of the system that are inaccessible to utility crews.
“In most cases, we just can’t get there and our crews are waiting for a break in the weather,” the Xcel spokesperson said. As a result, he said the utility had initiated some helicopter surveillance to make a more thorough assessment of the impact on the utility gas and electric systems from the rains that have caused thousands of residents to be evacuated and rivers to rise several feet above flood levels.
“We hope to have both an electric and natural gas representative in the helicopters to fly over troubled areas and assess damage,” the spokesperson said.
In most cases the status of impacted areas remained inaccessible on Friday with the exception of scattered spots in Dillon, Estes Park, Loveland and various intersections in parts of suburban Denver.
On the electric side, some 7,000 customers in Boulder County were without power, and Xcel had a number of substations and electric cabinets along main streets that were underwater.
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