Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020
8 p.m. More than 97% of homes and businesses have been restored! Local Black Hills Energy employees were joined by others from across Colorado, and as far away as Iowa. More than 170 technicians responded to the City of Aspen to help restore natural gas service.
“We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who assisted us in this effort,” Crocker continued. “The City of Aspen, Pitkin County, the technicians who traveled to lend a hand, and our customers and community who extended us their patience and support through this process.” Learn more
1:15 p.m. We’re grateful for everyone’s patience throughout the restoration process. Currently, gas service has been restored to more than 85% of our customers. If you’ve received a white door tag, it means we missed you and you should call 888-890-5554 to schedule a return visit. If a tech leaves a red tag, it means a safety inspection identified a gas appliance emitting carbon monoxide which poses a safety hazard that needs to be addressed.
10:30 a.m. Good morning, Aspen, CO! There are additional space heaters available for pickup at the Aspen Fire Department, located at 420 E. Hopkins Ave. and if you have already received one, it’s yours to keep. Progress overnight continued with restoration to commercial and governmental buildings and have begun relighting the remaining residential customers this morning.
Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020
8:18 p.m. December 29, 2020 With more than 170 technicians working tirelessly and around the clock to restore gas service to customers in the City of Aspen, Black Hills Energy made considerable progress towards relighting the 3,500 customers who lost service following vandalism to the Black Hills Energy system. By the end of the day on Tuesday, the company estimates approximately 2,000 customers will have service restored, nearly 65 percent of customers who were without natural gas due to Sunday’s vandalism. Learn more.
5 p.m. We appreciate the continued support of the entire Aspen community and our fellow partners as we work hard to restore gas service to the area. During this process, we’ve compiled and posted a list of frequently asked questions to help you with any concerns you may have. Visit blackhillsenergy.com/aspen/faqs.
3:27 p.m. We are advising homeowners and property managers with unoccupied residences to take proactive steps to reduce the potential for damage to homes affected by the gas disruption in Aspen due to the low overnight temperatures in the area.
Black Hills Energy is focused today, overnight, and tomorrow morning on restoring gas service to occupied residences and businesses in the area, so they have heat as soon as possible. We are asking property owners and managers of unoccupied residences and commercial properties to take immediate action to guard against frozen pipes by doing some or all of the following:
- Ask a neighbor or friend to access the home and turn on cold water faucets to drip and keep pipes from freezing.
- Consider turning water off to the residence and flush all pipes to prevent freezing until the owner returns.
- If an absentee property owner does not have anyone to call, please contact a local professional plumber to assist with proper winterization of their property.
For unoccupied properties, Black Hills Energy will schedule appointments to turn gas service back on and relight appliances for Thursday, December 31 and into the first week of January. Please do not call Black Hills Energy until after 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 30, 2020, to schedule a time to restore gas service at unoccupied properties. This will allow Black Hills to restore service for all occupied residences and businesses before we begin handling calls for unoccupied homes.
An authorized person over the age of 18 must be present to allow Black Hills personnel access to the property.
1:36 p.m. The Aspen Police Deparment has shared that space heaters are no longer available for pick-up at Aspen Police Department. Please pick up heaters at Aspen Fire Department (420 E. Hopkins) unless you have been instructed otherwise. Heater distribution will continue until 11 p.m. tonight while supplies last.
12:45 p.m. Technicians are continuing to restore service to the 3,500 impacted customers throughout the day and are prepared to safely restore service by wearing appropriate PPE and asking COVID-19 screening questions before entering homes and businesses. We would kindly ask you to also wear a mask while our technicians are in your home.
11:16 a.m. Technicians are working in a grid pattern in order to move efficiently and restore gas service to as many of the 3,500 impacted customers as quickly as possible. When a technician arrives to restore service, they will turn on the meter and then perform a variety of safety checks on gas appliances indoors, measuring for gas and carbon monoxide to identify any safety issues. Please do not attempt to relight your appliances.
8:56 a.m. Our techs have worked through the night to complete the multi-step process to purge and repressurize the system. We were able to begin relighting our most critical customers overnight and the techs are currently in-route across the city to begin relighting customers. Please try to clear a path and remove any snow from the meter to assist our techs during the relight process.
Space heaters have been made available by Black Hills Energy to impacted customers. The local fire and police department began distributing space heaters last night and heaters continue to be available at the Aspen Police Department offices, 540 East Main Street. If you are a customer in the impacted area of Aspen and are without heat, please go to the police department, park on the north side of Main Street in front of the police-department or in parking spaces marked in front of the Concept 600 building. For those with special needs, please call 970-379-1490 to request a heater.
Monday, Dec. 28, 2020
Black Hills Energy technicians are in the process of shutting off 3,500 gas meters in Aspen, purging and pressure testing the system, and bringing natural gas customers back online following vandalism that damaged the Black Hills Energy system and forced gas to be shut off to many customers in Aspen.
“The process of bringing customers back on to the system requires several steps,” said Vance Crocker, vice president of operations Black Hills Energy Colorado. “We must first make sure all gas meters are off, then purge the system so it’s ready for the reintroduction of the natural gas supply. Finally, our technicians will go door-to-door and relight each customer’s gas appliances.”
We anticipate completing the meter turn-off process later this afternoon. Once the safety of the system has been confirmed, we’ll begin to relight customers.
During the purging process the small amount of gas at the meter will safely dissipate into the air, but there is a possibility that residents will detect a faint gas smell. Natural gas has a distinct odor, similar to a rotten egg, due to the addition of a chemical called Mercaptan. The process is safe and Black Hills Energy technicians will be present during the process.
Additional Black Hills Energy employees from across Colorado and surrounding states are joining the effort to expedite restoration of service to Aspen customers, and contractors and employees from other Colorado utilities will assist in the effort as well. In all Black Hills Energy will have over 100 technicians working to restore service to our customers. Customers can call 888-890-5554 if they experience any natural gas service issues or for any non-emergency questions. Customers are asked not to call 911 for non-emergency questions regarding when service will be restored.
Black Hills Energy customers can assist in expediting the relighting efforts by clearing snow from and providing access to gas meters and restraining pets who may be on the premises. Additionally, it is required that someone over 18 years of age be present during the relighting process. If a customer is not home when the Black Hills Energy technicians arrive to relight, a door tag will be left with information on how to have a relight. Customers should not attempt to relight their appliances on their own. For customers who may be out of the area and whose homes or commercial buildings are not open at this time, please call the customer service center to schedule a date and time to restore service.
Our technicians will be prepared to safely restore service by wearing appropriate PPE and asking COVID-19 screening questions before entering homes and businesses. Our technicians practice social distancing and closely follow all national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding COVID-19, including wearing masks. Additionally, we ask that our customers also wear a mask while our technicians are in your home. Learn more about our COVID-19 precautions at www.blackhillsenergy.com.
Please remember the following safety tips:
- Be alert for leaking natural gas. If you smell natural gas, leave the building or area immediately and tell others to leave too.
- After you’re safely away from the area, call 911 and our emergency number at 888-890-5554. Never assume someone else has reported a natural gas leak. Alert your neighbors.
- Do not turn on lights, ignite a flame, use a cell phone or use anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
- Never attempt to repair a natural gas leak, and do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off.
Monday, Dec. 28, 2020
We anticipate completing the meter turn-off process later this afternoon. Once the safety of the system has been confirmed, we’ll begin to relight customers. You can help expedite the process by clearing any snow off your meter so our techs can easily locate and access the equipment.
Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020
Black Hills Energy has identified additional damage to its system due to vandalism that occurred on December 27. To safely facilitate necessary repairs, technicians will go door to door and turn off the approximately 3,500 impacted gas meters in the city to ensure the safety of the community beginning at 10 p.m. tonight. After making repairs and re-pressurizing the system, service will be restored to impacted residents and businesses.
Residences and businesses in the area depicted on the attached map will be affected beginning at 10:00 p.m. Black Hills Energy will continue updating customers and the community on anticipated timelines for restoration. At locations where no one is home or the business is closed, employees will leave a tag on the door, notifying the customer that the natural gas has been shut off and with instructions to call the company to have it turned back on.
It is extremely important that customers do not attempt to re-light their own pilot lights on their furnaces or water heaters. Black Hills Energy technicians will re-light the appliances of all impacted customers.
Because of extreme temperatures, Aspen residents are encouraged to contact their neighbors who may be out of town. Please ask them to call Black Hills Energy’s customer service so the company can check their home or building to make sure they have service so water pipes don’t freeze.
If any customer smells natural gas, they should leave their home immediately and call 911 and then Black Hills Energy’s emergency service line from a neighbor’s home or from a cell phone at 888-890-5554. Don’t use the phone in the house where you smelled gas or turn off any lights as you leave. If there is gas in the house, a spark of any kind could ignite it and cause serious property and personal injuries.
Customers can call 888-890-5554 if they experience any natural gas service issues. Do not call 911 for non-emergency questions regarding when service will be restored. Contact Black Hills Energy with all non-emergency questions.
Map of affected area
We appreciate the continued support of the entire Aspen community and our fellow partners as we work hard to restore gas service to the area. During this process, we’ve compiled and posted a list of frequently asked questions to help you with any concerns you may have.