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Xcel: 20 miles of gas lines, thousands of meters need to be replaced

DENVER — Xcel Energy said Wednesday that 20 miles of pipeline and thousands of electrical and natural gas meters need to be replaced because of damage they sustained from last week’s flooding.

“This historic flood has caused extensive damage to our natural gas delivery system,” said Xcel spokesman Gabriel Romero.

About 4,460 people do not have natural gas service.

“The restoration process for our natural gas system is complex and will take a significant amount of time to complete. In some areas, we will be making temporary repairs to restore service, with permanent repairs finished next year,” Romero said.

The electrical system survived the flooding with much less damage, Romero said.

He said 245 customers in Boulder and 225 customers in Greeley didn’t have power Wednesday. Xcel said it hopes to restore power to about 150 people in Boulder by Thursday.

“We do not have a restoration estimate yet for the other impacted electric customers,” Romero said.

Community Updates:

Boulder County (rural) – There are 169 customers without natural gas service. We are working to install a gas pipe under a creek at Highway 36 and Middle Fork. The gas meters in this area will be off until this work is complete. This repair will enable service to be restored to all customers, but we do not yet know when this work will be completed.

Coal Creek Canyon – There are 779 customers without natural gas service. Our crews are repairing and replacing gas distribution pipe serving this area. The damage in Coal Creek Canyon is extensive. We anticipate being able to restore service to approximately 40 customers in Blue Mountain on Friday, September 20. We estimate needing to replace 2,500 feet of natural gas pipe before we can restore service to remaining customers. We do not have a restoration estimate on this work yet.

Estes Park – There are 81 customers without natural gas service. We just gained access to this area on Wednesday, September 18. We are assessing our system and do not have a restoration estimate at this time until we can assess our system.

Evergreen – There are 203 customers without service in the Beaver Brook area. A road has washed out, requiring us to shut off gas distribution equipment. This area has extensive system damage. Our repair plan is to replace 2000 feet of gas pipe above ground along the side of a road to bypass road damage. This will be a temporary repair, but will enable us to restore gas service to customers. We anticipate restoring service on Friday, September 20. We would then make permanent repairs when the road is rebuilt.

Fort Morgan – There are 170 customers without natural gas service in the Fort Morgan County Club area. We are still assessing the damage and do not have a restoration estimate at this time.

Longmont – One of the most impacted areas is a mobile home park, where 62 natural gas customers are out of service. The fire department has asked us to take this area out of service due to the significant damage. We will restore service when authorities indicate it is safe to do so. If you have an electric outage in this area, please contact the City of Longmont.

Loveland – Service to customers near County Road 29 and Water Dale is being restored by the end of Wednesday, September 18. In the Thompson River Ranch area, east of the interstate, there are 567 customers out of service. We are still assessing the damage and do not have an estimate for restoration at this time.

Lyons – There are 1,123 customers without natural gas service, with major flooding and damage to homes. Our crews have shut off meters and are repairing gas delivery equipment. We anticipate being able to restore service to customers in areas that were not flooded by the end of this week. We would begin relighting appliances when city officials indicate it is safe to do so. We do not have a restoration estimate for flooded areas at this time.

Milliken – There are 289 customers without gas service in the Mad Russian Golf Course community. Our natural gas main serving the area has been damaged. We do not have a restoration estimate at this time.

Pinebrook – There are 494 customers without natural gas service. Our crews have shut off meters in Old Stage and are currently relighting customers (about 145 customers). Crews have also repaired pipe in N. Cederbrook and are continuing the necessary work to have natural gas service available soon. Customers to the east of Cederbrook should have service restored and pilots relit beginning Thursday, September 19 through Friday, September 20. We expect all of Pinebrook to have service restored by the end of the week, with the exception of Wagon Wheel Gap Road, where 30 customers will remain out as additional repairs and materials are required. We do not have a restoration estimate yet on the Wagon Wheel Gap Road work.

Sterling – There are 270 customers without natural gas service. A third party using a front-end loader caused further damage to our natural gas system this week by digging into our distribution pipe. This has introduced both mud and water into our system. We have had to shut off our gas distribution equipment as a result. Our restoration plan involves both system repair and mud removal. We believe we can restore service to most customers by the end of this week. However, about 80 customers will remain without service until further repairs are made.

Weldona – Natural gas service is now restored to all customers. Several customers were not home for relights and should contact Xcel Energy to have their pilots relit.

If you are returning to a home or business that was affected by floods, please take extra precautions. If your natural gas meter was submerged in flood waters, we must check it prior to restoring gas service. Please do not attempt to turn on the natural gas yourself. If the controls or any of operating components on natural gas appliances were submerged in water, a trained service professional must inspect it. Manufacturers warn that these appliance components will corrode over time, causing gas valve failure, improper combustion and dangerous natural gas leaks.

Before using any electricity after a flood, have an electrician check the wiring and related equipment to make sure it is safe. Faulty wiring can cause electrical shock, fire or even death.

Please remember that if you detect a sulfur or “rotten egg” smell inside your home, it could be the odorant we put in natural gas to help detect leaks. If you notice that smell, leave your home immediately. Do not turn any electrical devices on or off and never use any phone until you are outside and safely away from the area. Then call 911 or call us at 1-800-895-2999.