Xcel restores natural gas to most in Boulder County

(Photo: MGN Online)

(Photo: MGN Online)

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Xcel Energy slowly but steadily restored natural gas to about 7,286 customers in Boulder County who spent two frigid nights without it.

By 7 a.m. Sunday morning, natural gas service had been restored to all but about 40 customers, Xcel said.

Workers were unable to restore service to homes where no one was home. Residents of those homes were asked to call Xcel at 1-800-895-4999 to schedule an appointment.

An Xcel spokeswoman said most outages were in Niwot, Gunbarrel and southwestern Longmont.

The utility called in additional resources from around the state and from Minnesota, Wisconsin, California and New Mexico to finish the job.

“With temperatures hovering in the single digits, we want to restart service as quickly as possible,” the company said in a statement.

At My Mom’s Pie shop in Niwot, the scent of fresh-baked goods was back in the air Saturday afternoon.

Over the last couple of days, the popular business endured a bad mix of a gas and power outage.  My Mom’s is one of many businesses and homes to wait it out until service is restored.  It happened for them Saturday morning.

Just across the street, an Excel Energy crew was going door-to-door, checking for someone at home, before restoring service.  It’s a process that can take 15 to 30 minutes.

The hope is to get service restored to all customers by Saturday night, but if residents aren’t home, that process could last into Sunday.

When Niwot resident David Plume saw an Xcel crew pulling up to his home on Friday evening, he thought his wait was finally over.

“I thought that they would come in and turn stuff on,” Plume said.

But before they could turn pilot lights back on, the crews had to turn off the affected gas lines to bring pressure back. That meant a long, cold night was in store for many.

“We turned on all the lights in the house and turned the oven on, kind of kept it low,” Plume said. “Turned on as much energy as we can. We have a few space heaters.”

“We have space heaters pretty much everywhere,” said Gunbarrel resident Dawn Singer. “I can tell you the temperature is 58 degreees (in the house).”

Singer she called a furnace repair company early Friday morning, and quickly realized it was a larger problem.

“They said, that’s curious because you’re the seventh person to call from the Gunbarrell area before 8:00 in the morning,” Singer said.

Xcel has not said what caused the leak.

Customers who lose natural gas should not re-light appliances themselves.

“Not only can your appliances or equipment be damaged by improper re-lights but you can place yourself and your family in danger. Our employees will check your appliances and re-light them for you free of charge,” the company said.