Steamboat businesses take power outage in stride |

Steamboat businesses take power outage in stride

Crews from Yampa Valley Electric Association work Thursday to restore power after a dump truck, which was building a road to a new subdivision just off U.S. Highway 40 near the intersection with Elk River Road, clipped a power line. Nobody was hurt in the incident, but local businesses were without power for two hours while repairs were made to the lines.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Chris Gander, owner of Moe’s Original Bar B Que on the west side of Steamboat Springs, was busy preparing for the lunch rush and taking care of catering orders when he heard a “boom” and his restaurant lost power.

“It could not have been worse timing,” Gander said shortly after his business power had been restored just before 2 p.m. Thursday. “I don’t know what it is with construction crews destroying utilities, but every day we need to be functioning like normal we seem to get hammered.”

Gander said after last year’s road construction at the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Elk River Road, he had hoped these types of interruptions were a thing of the past. He estimates that today’s outage cost him $1,000 in sales.

Jim Jennings, Yampa Valley Electric Association’s member outreach supervisor, said approximately 500 customers lost power around noon Thursday after a large dump truck clipped an overhead power line at a road construction project in the area. Jennings said the loud thump many people in the area heard was most likely a fuse blowing.

There were no injuries, and it took crews about two hours to fix the problem and restore power. Jennings said service was disrupted on all four corners of the intersection and stretched up Routt County Road 129. The Copper Ridge subdivision north of Steamboat Springs was also without power.

“Fortunately, we have a generator, so we had backup power system,”said Bridget Kelly, Ace at the Curve store manager. “The main problem is that it does not supply full power for the store. It’s only emergency lighting, so for customers that were coming in, we had to use headlamps or flashlights to get them around to their products.”

She said the outage illuminated some small hiccups in the store’s emergency plan. The store had recently moved its cash registers to a new location, and they were not connected to the emergency power. She said employees and customers used extension cords to get the registers up and running. 

“We were a little quieter because of it,” Kelly said. “But if people wanted something or needed something, we were able to help them out with it. It was a little chaotic there for a while.”

But by early Thursday afternoon, the power had been fully restored, and it was back to business as usual for the area.

“It was confined largely over here on the west side of Steamboat,” Jennings said. “We lost our phone service (at YVEA), and I’m sure it was related to that, but it’s now back fully operational.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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