Pickup crash causes Rifle power outage
Some Rifle residents found themselves without electricity, again, early Sunday morning after a truck crashed into a power pole and caused substantial damage to Xcel Energy’s delivery system.
Approximately 6,300 customers were without power, according to Michelle Aguayo, a spokesperson for Xcel Energy in Colorado, after a pickup truck struck a power pole in Rifle around 4 a.m.
The damage was substantial, Aguayo said.
Xcel did not have information on the circumstances leading up to the crash, nor did it have information on the identity and status of the driver.
Service was restored to nearly all of the affected customers by 4 p.m.
But the incident led the company to send out a notification asking customers to curb electric usage through most of Sunday.
Power was re-routed through alternate routes while crews repaired the damage. The request to conserve electric usage came as temperatures climbed into the mid 90s, which sparked concerns about possibly overwhelming the system during the altered delivery procedure.
The call to conserve lasted until 7 p.m.
Sunday’s power outage was the most recent in an unusually frequent string of recent outages.
In early May, an outage lasted approximately 10 minutes and reportedly stretched from Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs.
Later that month, approximately 5,000 Xcel customers in the Rifle area lost power for about 17 minutes after a bird flew into power lines.
The frequency of the outages caught the attention of residents on the Rifle COnnected Facebook page, where several people said they were without power for three hours Sunday.
Aguayo agreed the number of recent outages was abnormal, but she said they are not an indication of issues with Xcel’s system.
“I would agree that there have been more outages, but they’ve all been caused by something different,” Aguayo said. “If it were something systemic we would have similar causes.”
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