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November 11, 2012
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Gas line leak leads to power outages in Summit

It's still unclear what caused a natural gas pipeline leak that forced utility company Xcel Energy to cut power to some Summit County customers this morning as temperatures dipped to the lowest point so far this season.

Customers are asked to turn down their thermostats two to three degrees and reduce natural gas consumption through noon today while crews complete repairs that began Sunday night.

"Our crews are, for the most part, done repairing the line," Xcel spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo said. "We no longer have any more outages planned, but we're asking customers to conserve natural gas if they can."

Xcel Energy lost pressure on a natural gas pipelines that serves Breckenridge, Keystone and Frisco Sunday afternoon. Utility crews worked overnight to repair the leak.

Customers were asked to reduce natural gas usage Sunday night while repairs were under way, but the conservation effort wasn't enough. Excel had to implement two 30-minute electric service interruptions this morning to further cut the use of natural gas.

Though the outages are over, local residents are still encouraged to avoid the use of major natural gas appliances, including fireplaces, gas-fired hot tubs and dryers or appliances that use hot water, such as clothes washers and dishwashers until noon today.

It's still unclear what caused the leak, which originated at a break in a seam where two pipelines came together. While it's unlikely the problem was caused by the wintery weather over the weekend, the colder conditions may have helped expose the problem, Aguayo said.

"All of a sudden, natural gas use goes up," she said.

Temperatures dropped into the single digits overnight, with wind chill values plunging as low as -15.


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The Summit Daily Updated Nov 12, 2012 04:06PM Published Nov 11, 2012 09:32PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.