Mountain counties face rolling blackouts Thursday night to shore up fire-damaged natural gas system, Xcel Energy warns – The Denver Post

Xcel Energy said Thursday evening that it would intermittently cut electric power in Summit, Grand, Eagle, and four other counties to protect the operation of its natural gas system, which suffered damage in the wildfires in Boulder County.

“To decrease the amount of natural gas being used by furnaces in the area and keep the system up and running, the company is putting in place periodic electric outages to customers in Summit, Grand, Lake, Eagle, Saguache, Rio Grande and Alamosa counties for the next 6 to 8 hours,” Xcel said in a news release.

The targeted outages are expected to last about 60 minutes at a time. The state’s largest utility is also asking customers in Summit and Grand counties to conserve natural gas so service throughout the mountain region can be maintained. Xcel, which has shutoff natural gas service in Superior and Louisville, said its repair crews haven’t been able to get in to repair damaged infrastructure, which is part of the distribution system that serves the mountain regions to the west.

Ahead of the planned electric outages, impacted customers are urged to turn off all electronics, especially computers and televisions. They are also encouraged to turn down the thermostat, not use gas fireplaces and limit the use of hot water. The company at 10 p.m. said it was expecting to end the controlled outages and that power would be restored overnight.

“Taking steps to conserve can help prevent outages and help ensure that all of our customers continue to have natural gas service,” Xcel said.

Temperatures are expected to hover in the low to mid-20s tonight with snow accumulating in the counties most directly impacted by the outages.

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