BOULDER, CO: Just over one week ago, at the request of public safety officials, Xcel Energy turned off natural gas services to customers in Superior, Louisville, and surrounding communities to minimize safety concerns related to devasting wildfires near Boulder.
As damage assessments and restoration continue, mutual assistance from a dozen states have helped restore most utility services. One group helping coordinate this assistance effort is Southern Gas Association (SGA) and their National Mutual Aid Program. “Though national mutual aid has only been activated a handful of times in the past decade, the purpose of our program was realized this past week in Colorado,” states Suzanne Ogle, SGA’s President and CEO. “Intended specifically for such unprecedented disasters, either natural or man-made, this emergency assistance ensured natural gas utilities could get back on their feet quickly and provide the vital services their customers depend on.”
Luke Litteken, SVP Natural Gas Business Unit for Xcel Energy stated, “I’m inspired by our natural gas crews, mutual aid peers, and vendor partners who delivered for our community. We had more than 550 boots on the ground aiding Boulder County during the Marshall and Middle Fork wildfires. Safety and speed in complicated conditions is a careful balance and that was our primary focus. When times are uncertain, there’s comfort in the sure things. I am grateful to my team and my industry peers for delivering the essential energy our communities need to keep moving forward. #XEProud”
With temperatures hovering around 0-degrees, the impact of rapidly restoring natural gas services for these communities is immeasurable. Providing needed warmth for those still in their homes and businesses, as well as the ability to cook and heat are always immensely important after loss of service – especially in extreme weather. Additionally, restoring gas services to local businesses allows them to further respond to the recovery efforts through needed services, contributions, and support.
With 11 member companies responding to their call for assistance, Xcel Energy was able to quickly restore gas services in only 96 hours to the 13,000 customers impacted by this disaster. This was no small feat.
Over 300 individual workers from a dozen states responded to assist from as far away as Florida and Texas. The emergency response from SGA and the National Mutual Aid Program allowed Xcel Energy, whose own employees were affected by the fire, to restore services in a matter of days, rather than weeks.
Customers can find local updates and support on xcelenergy.com or by calling 1-800-895-2999.
Founded in 1908, the Southern Gas Association is the leader in natural gas training and professional development. SGA is a community of natural gas professionals across the U.S. and Canada. SGA’s membership comprises 200 businesses across the distribution, transmission, and gas supply marketing sectors as well as more than 350 industry partners. Through digital and in-person engagement, SGA members come together to share ideas, resources, and best practices to develop people, relationships, and solutions.