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Xcel Energy warns of possible Eagle County electric outages due to Boulder fires

December 30, 2021, 6:13 pm

Xcel Energy on Thursday issued the following press release on possible electric outages to Eagle County and several other mountain counties over the next 6 to 8 hours due to impacts to Xcel’s natural gas infrastructure stemming from the devastating Boulder County wildfires that have incinerated hundreds of homes:

DENVER (Dec. 30, 2021) – The Boulder County wildfires have impacted Xcel Energy’s natural gas infrastructure that supports the system in Summit County and Grand 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. Outages will generally last about 60 minutes. In addition, the company is asking our Summit County and Grand County customers to help conserve natural gas so our natural gas system can continue to provide reliable service to the mountain region.

High winds and the wildfires have caused significant damage in Boulder County, and at this time fire officials are not allowing any travel into the area. Xcel Energy crews are working with fire officials to determine when it is safe to access our facilities and ultimately return service to normal levels.

To prepare for controlled electric outages, customers are encouraged to turn off computers, TVs, and other electronics. You can take additional steps to reduce your use of natural gas by turning down your thermostat and avoiding the use of hot water and other natural gas appliances such as gas fireplaces. We appreciate your patience during this time.

Taking steps to conserve can help prevent outages and help ensure that all of our customers continue to have natural gas service. At this time, we do not have an estimate of how long customer conservation will be required.  

In addition, working with fire officials, Xcel Energy has turned off natural gas service to customers in Superior and Louisville to minimize safety concerns. It is not yet known when service will be restored. The company is working to provide space heaters to affected customers, and will share more information later today.

In addition to lowering their thermostats, here are some easy ways for customers to conserve:

  • Let the sunlight in and keep the cold out – Open blinds to take advantage of the sun’s warmth during the day but close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside.  
  • Make sure exterior doors are fully closed – A major source of a home’s heat loss is from exterior doors that are left cracked open or not latched.   
  • Use fans to your advantage – During colder months, run ceiling fans clockwise, so the warm air near the ceiling is forced down.  
  • Keep your oven’s heat where it belongs -Use your oven light or timer to avoid opening it often while you cook; each time the door is opened even for just a few seconds, the temperature drops 25 degrees.

More information on ways to save energy can be found on the Energy Saving Tips page at xcelenergy.com

As an important safety reminder, if customers ever detect a sulfur or rotten egg smell inside or near their home, it could be the odorant that we put in natural gas to help detect leaks. If they notice that smell, leave home immediately. Do not turn any electrical devices on or off, do not use a garage door opener, and never use any phone until they are outside and away, then call us at 1-800-895-2999. In a life-threatening emergency, call 911.  

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank customers for all your natural gas conservation efforts. We will provide customers updates as the situation develops, and additional information will be available on www.xcelenergy.com

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