Aspen residents, businesses starting to see natural gas come back, along with heat |

Aspen residents, businesses starting to see natural gas come back, along with heat

Black Hills Energy gets system online, technicians relighting pilots

Technicians from Black Hills Energy began relighting natural gas pilots at homes and businesses in Aspen early Tuesday morning, a spokeswoman said.

A pressure test of the natural gas distribution system – which was damaged in three locations Saturday night by an unknown vandal or vandals – was completed by the company around 3 a.m., said Carly West.

“Immediately following restoration of system pressure, technicians began relighting vulnerable residential customers, and this morning technicians spread across the city to begin relighting customers,” according to a Black Hills news release late Tuesday morning.

West said technicians began focusing on Aspen residents at-large about 7 a.m., while the news release says they will fan out in a grid pattern across the city to “restore gas service to as many of the 3,500 impacted customers as quickly as possible.”

West did not have an estimate as to when all 3,500 customers without heat or hot water would be back online.

“Individual relight orders will not be processed until an initial pass across the city is completed,” the release states. “ Residential customers will be prioritized during daylight hours, and after 11 p.m. technicians will work to restore service to commercial and government buildings.”

Aspen residents claim heaters outside of the Aspen Police Department to heat their homes during a gas outage on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Free space heaters for residents are still available in front of the Aspen Police Department, 540 E. Main St. Officers had distributed about 1,500 of 4,000 by Tuesday morning, said Bill Linn, assistant chief.

Natural gas service has been out just in the Aspen area since Sunday night after three natural gas pumping stations in Aspen and Pitkin County were damaged. Police continue to investigate the incidents.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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