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Glenwood power outages common this summer

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A brief Tuesday afternoon power outage that affected areas south of 15th Street was one of several outages this summer that have impacted the south-central parts of the city.

In the most recent case, what’s called a “high-side” fuse blew on the Roaring Fork Substation behind Valley View Hospital, according to city Electric Department Superintendent Doug Hazzard.

“We haven’t determined a cause yet,” he said Wednesday. “It affected people from about 15th Street south.



“Thank goodness we were still at work when it happened and were able to respond pretty quickly,” Hazzard said of the outage, which only lasted about a half hour from about 3:30-4 p.m. Tuesday.

Other city power outages this summer and earlier in the year were more lengthy.



However, the various causes have been pretty random, ranging from squirrels and other small animals causing trouble with power lines and transformers to more extensive transmission line failures, according to an Aug. 4 memo from Glenwood Public Works Director Robin Millyard to City Manager Jeff Hecksel.

“Customers in the easterly downtown area, bounded by 7th Street on the north, Cleveland Avenue on the east, 15th Street on the south and Cooper Avenue on the west, probably do have legitimate reasons to be concerned and bothered with the number of outages this year,” Millyard’s memo stated.

Since the beginning of the year, the city has had seven documented outages, including the most recent one. Others included:

• Feb. 18 – Xcel transmission fault caused a city-wide outage.

• June 10 – Squirrel in power line in the 800 block of Blake/Bennett alley.

• June 16 – Xcel transmission line failure caused city-wide outage, and also affected New Castle.

• June 25 – North Glenwood Substation had a high-side fuse blow (no cause determined).

• June 30 – Squirrel in power line in 1000 block of Bennett Avenue.

• July 27 – Broken tree limb fell across power line in 800 block of Blake/Bennett alley.

“The cause of these outages is consistent with the type of outages that have been occurring in this area over the last five years,” according to Millyard’s memo. “Unfortunately, most of these events are beyond human control.”

One way to cut down on weather-related outages, he said, is to convert overhead power lines to underground systems. However, that is costly and is usually driven by private development or re-development projects in areas where overhead lines exist, he added.

Hazzard noted that areas north of the Colorado River and West Glenwood have not been as affected.

“Some sections of town have had a high number of outages,” he said. “We’re doing what we can, and we’re just as frustrated as everybody else when we have a lot of outages.”

jstroud@postindependent.com


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