Steamboat Springs Yampa Valley Electric Association waited for frozen ground to thaw before repairing weathered underground cables that caused a string of large-scale power outages in Steamboat Springs last winter.
Most of the cables have already been replaced, and YVEA General Manager Larry Covillo said that the problems should now be solved.
Last winter, some 3,300 people were without power for several hours between Jan. 6 and 10.
A broken insulator in the Game Trails area caused power outages for homes west of Steamboat. Although the insulator itself was replaced immediately, crews did not start replacing underground cables until spring.
Old cables running up to Strawberry Park and some areas on the ski mountain had decayed over time, causing cable faults around the valley months ago.
"The cables were all put in at roughly the same time. They're 1970 vintage cables," Covillo said. "They've all failed at least once, some of them twice. So we're working on a big cable replacement job right now."
The job won't be finished until at least October, when the water level in the Yampa River will be low enough to replace cables running beneath the river, from Trafalgar Estates to the Howelsen Hill area.
While the replacement project should prevent further age-related failures in the area power system, it obviously can't stop the lights from going out for other reasons.
"This doesn't protect outages from happening when a car or a plow hits a green protector box, or when someone or something digs into a cable," Covillo said.
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