Yampa Valley Electric Association repairs substation, restores power
YVEA restores service to all but a few by early afternoon
April 15, 2016
Steamboat Springs — This story has been updated.
Yampa Valley Electric Association officials confirmed about 1 p.m. Friday that power had been restored throughout its service area with the exception of a few customers close to the Hamilton substation in Moffat County, where a repair was still underway, and perhaps a handful of additional customers in rural areas, where the day's wet snowfall may have taken down a power line.
"We got the transmission line back up on our grid for Hayden, Yampa and Craig," YVEA spokesperson Tammi Strickland said. "All the snow has shed (from power lines), as far as we can tell, so people shouldn't see the power blinking on and off."
YVEA began noticing an influx of customer calls reporting power outages after 5 a.m. Friday, and it soon became apparent the wet snow was clinging to power lines in thick, white ropes, causing them to sag — profoundly, in some cases — which, in turn, put stress on the power poles.
By 11 a.m., the rural electrical cooperative, which has 2,840 miles of lines, had determined its biggest issue was with an Xcel Energy transmission line feeding into a YVEA substation in Moffat County that had also been disrupted by the dense snowfall.
The problem with the transmission line, which runs on large steel towers, was also related to the heavy snowfall that swept through the region early Friday morning, Strickland said. She added that, while the sagging lines and poles across the county continued to be an issue, YVEA crews focused their attention on the substation.
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At the height of the outage, the heavy spring snowfall, which intensified before dawn Friday, had disrupted power to an estimated 3,000 YVEA customers from Baggs, Wyoming, south to Craig, Hayden, rural Steamboat Springs and South Routt, though the city of Steamboat itself was largely spared.
Though a temporary power outage was reported in the Fairview neighborhood, and people here experienced lights blinking on and off, the city was not significantly affected. Strickland confirmed that Yampa Valley Medical Center's power was not interrupted.
A spokesperson for the South Routt School District said the lights were off all morning at the South Routt Elementary School in Yampa. Students remained at their desks and worked on their lessons, and power was restored to the school around midday.
Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue responded to the scene of an electrical line lying across the roadway on Routt County Road 44, west of Steamboat Springs at about 9:30 a.m.
A Steamboat Fire Services spokesperson said there had been a report of sparks and motorists driving across the downed line. A fire truck was positioned to block the road while workers dealt with the line.