Wildernest-area gas outage affects 1,200, service expected to restore Saturday afternoon | SummitDaily.com

Wildernest-area gas outage affects 1,200, service expected to restore Saturday afternoon

Summit Daily staff report / news@summitdaily.com

Xcel Energy says it experienced a failure at a natural gas regulator station at noon on Friday that has affected customers in the Wildernest area north of Interstate 70 and west of Highway 9.

The company has shut off service to approximately 1,200 customers while it purges the system of residual gas for several hours. About 140 employees are expected to complete door-to-door sweeps to then relight appliances by Saturday afternoon.

The situation is unrelated to the wildfires currently burning is Summit County, the company said in an email. The cause of the problem is an equipment failure and is currently under investigation, company spokesman Mark Stutz said.

Xcel’s response to the service shutdown wouldn't limit the company’s readiness to shut down gas in the Peak 7 neighborhood should a nearby wildfire threaten it, Stutz said.

"These are two separate incidents but we're definitely our eyes on both of them,” he said. “We already have people in place to deal with issues in Breckenridge and they will continue to monitor the situation there."

Affected customers are said to have received outbound calls from Xcel this afternoon informing them of the issue. The purging of the gas lines is to ensure there are no gaps in gas flow once service is restored.

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Once that purge is complete, around 60 Xcel employees will begin relighting natural gas appliances at homes and businesses in the affected area from around 9 to 11 p.m. on Friday, the email said. The relighting process will resume at 7 a.m. the next day and should be completed by the afternoon.

Stutz said someone who is 18 years of age or older will need to be present to let workers come in and re-light appliances. He said they will make multiple sweeps of the affected neighborhoods until all appliances have been re-lit.

"During the purging process, the smell of natural gas odorant, known as mercaptan, may be present," the email said. "Customers are encouraged to call Xcel Energy at (800) 895-2999 if they smell natural gas or have other concerns about the situation.”

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