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LPEA crews work to restore power to county residents

By Indiana Reed

Special to The SUN

Many residents in Archuleta County spent a good portion of their Sunday (Mar. 2) without electrical power as the much-welcomed snow storm left several inches of wet snow that caused approximately 100 outages of varying sizes across the county.

Effects of the snow began impacting La Plata Electric Association’s (LPEA) equipment roughly at dawn, with a domino-like series of outages occurring throughout the morning. The first significant outage came at 5:49 a.m. with 580 LPEA customers north of the town of Pagosa Springs proper losing power. Snow load was determined as the cause, with no equipment damage, and power was restored at 8:32 a.m.

At 6:59 a.m., the 69kv breaker at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Pagosa tripped open, indicating a fault somewhere on Tri-State’s line. Power thus was cut to both LPEA’s Ponderosa and Pagosa sub-stations, resulting in about 4,000 LPEA customers losing power. Crews patrolled the line and determined it was again snow load, and all circuits affecting Pagosa and Ponderosa substations were closed back in by approximately 10 a.m.

With the substations back in power, LPEA crews continued tackling the smaller outages throughout the county, which included 294 customers south of the town proper in the Apache area, including town facilities on 5th Street, school facilities, KWUF radio and LPEA’s Pagosa office on 8th Street. The cause of the outage, which occurred at 7:35 a.m., was a downed line, and as of this writing (3 p.m.), power had not been restored. Mud hampered the efforts, but repairs are expected to be complete by about 4 p.m.

In comparison to Archuleta County, La Plata County realized very few outages on Sunday, with approximately 160 customers in scattered outages out of power for varying periods of time during the day.

At this writing approximately 700 LPEA customers remain out of power, but crews will continue working until all power is restored.

This story was posted on March 2, 2014.