ASPEN, Colo. – 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.
Work to restore commercial customers and government buildings will continue through the night, with technicians continuing to relight residential customers until 11 p.m. and beginning again in the morning. At the current rate of progress, Black Hills Energy estimates that nearly all customers could have gas service restored by late Wednesday afternoon.
“Our goal is to restore natural gas service to our customers as quickly and safely as possible despite the many conditions making this a difficult process,” said Vance Crocker, vice president of operations for Black Hills Energy Colorado. “Every customer is extremely important to us and we want to make sure each one receives the customer service we pride ourselves on providing, and has service restored as quickly as possible.”
Local Black Hills Energy employees were joined by technicians from across Colorado, surrounding states, contractors, and other utilities in their effort to restore service. Despite challenging weather, temperatures, additional precautions due to COVID-19, and significant travel by many to reach Aspen, the assembled crew has been aligned in their commitment to bring natural gas back online for every impacted customer.
Crews continue to provide updates on their progress to the command center and have reported the relight process is going smoothly but taking time. While projections of completing nearly all relights by late afternoon on Wednesday are based on progress thus far, many factors could impact completion of the task, including complications from weather or difficulty connecting with customers in order to enter a residence to relight and test appliances.
Customers can find additional information on the Black Hills Energy website at https://www.blackhillsenergy.com/aspen/faqs.
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.