Weathering the storm

    1

    Sunday morning, as many of us were snuggling deeper under the blankets, area utility workers were heading out to combat the effects of the heavy, wet snow from the year’s first big spring storm.

    According to La Plata Electric (LPEA) spokesperson Indiana Reed, “Basically the whole county was out of power at some point.” As snow started unloading off the wires, circuits tripped open and the power was off. There were approximately 100 outages and three downed lines to contend with.

    Mud and heavy, wet snow made challenging work for La Plata Electric crews who put in 176 man-hours that day. All LPEA personnel worked 14 to 18 hours each throughout the outage.

    But, it wasn’t just LPEA out working in the mud, snow and  muck.

    Emergency dispatch phone lines went down that morning when the power went out. The Emergency Operations Center, Pagosa Fire and EMS agencies responded quickly and communications were established with backup systems.

    All 9-1-1 calls were immediately forwarded by CenturyLink to La Plata County dispatch until our lines were restored.

    SourceGas employees were called into action to fire up the backup system generator used by the 9-1-1 system.

    Throughout the town and county, snowplow drivers worked to clear roadways.

    Downtown, Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District crews went to work when the outage caused lift station failure.

    Even the town’s geothermal system was affected when the pumps went off due to power failure.

    Utility crews and public employees went above and beyond the call of duty, working around the clock to clear and repair damaged power lines and restore services.

    As power began being restored to areas of the county, SourceGas employees assisted customers in safety checks of venting, valves and flames, and relit gas appliances for those who needed assistance.

    Those of us who have lived here for some time are accustomed to heavy, wet spring snowstorms, but we don’t always stop and think about our snowplow drivers, utility crews and emergency services personnel who step up to the challenge of opening roadways, restoring services and keeping us safe regardless of the weather or the time of the year.

    We thank these people for their incredible heart and persistence as they worked to restore services safely and expeditiously. We commend them for their assistance, hard work and unwavering dedication.

    A sincere thank you to everyone for a job well done.

    Terri Lynn Oldham House