Natural gas still out for thousands in Boulder Co.

12:47 PM, Dec 7, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - Xcel Energy says service was restored to about 800 customers overnight after a natural gas outage Friday left thousands searching for warmth. 

More than 200 crew members are working to relight affected neighborhoods and expect to have the majority of customers back in service by late afternoon Saturday.

Boulder County has set up a shelter at Douglass Elementary School, located at 840 75th Street in Boulder, which will allow pets. Before leaving home, it's important to turn on water faucets to a slow drip to help prevent frozen water pipes and ensure the water is draining.

Xcel says it repaired the damaged regulator station after a loss of gas pressure was reported in the Niwot, Boulder area Friday.

However, electricity went out to about 4,000 customers in that same area just before 8 p.m. Friday night. Power was restored about 70 minutes later.

Xcel has now called in crews from around the nation to help restore natural gas to customers.

Xcel representatives say the pressure problem happened at a major regulation station in Niwot. Repairs to the station were completed at 2:30 p.m. Friday, however Xcel has to shut off all natural gas downstream of the break before resuming the flow of natural gas.

Xcel says an estimated 7,200 customers are affected. They are in an area roughly bounded by North 95th Street on the east, North 47th Street on the west, Niwot Road on the north and Jay Road on the south.

Sharyn Pert and her husband are just one of thousands without heat. Pert says her husband noticed a change in the temperature inside their home Friday morning. When check the thermostat, she realized the temperature dropped ten degrees.

"We always set it at 72 so when it read 62, we knew something was wrong. I checked and we found out there were outages all around our area," Pert said.

Pert considers herself lucky because she has a fireplace. She sat next to it throughout much of the day on Friday and put on three layers of clothes. Her biggest fear, she says, is having to sleep without heat if Xcel crews don't make it to her house.

"I would say it's probably going to be pretty miserable, I'm not looking forward to tonight at all. The news that it might go as long as tomorrow night is really horrifying," Pert said.

The outage will require a home-to-home relight effort. Xcel cautions customers not to attempt to re-light natural gas appliances because of the dangers involved. Xcel employees will check appliances and re-light them free of charge.

"We are communicating with affected customers through various channels, and are working with local agencies in the area to address temporary shelters and other needs," Stutz said in a statement.

Excel urges anyone affected to call 1-800-895-1999 or visit http://www.xcelenergy.com to report the problem.

As an important safety reminder, if customers detect a sulfur or rotten egg smell in their home, it could be the odorant that is put in natural gas to help detect leaks. If customers notice that smell, they should leave their homes immediately and not turn any electrical devices on or off, use a garage door opener, and or any phone until they are outside and away from the home; then call 1-800-895-2999 or call 911.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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