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Damaged gas line leaves Elyria-Swansea residents without gas for days

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Posted at 9:54 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 17:51:52-04

DENVER — Residents of the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood are frustrated they’ve been without gas for three days, and it could be longer.

A statement released by Xcel Energy said it’s unclear how long it will take to make the necessary repairs to a damaged gas line.

The digging, the disarray and the disruption are becoming too much for people living in the area of 48th Avenue and Clayton Street.

“I’m all like when is this going to stop?” Lilia Uribe said.

On Wednesday, Uribe went to turn on the stove and realized it wasn’t working. She immediately thought it was broken. Unsure what was happening, she called her neighbors, and realized they didn’t have gas either.

Some residents in the area said they were notified of a large-scale outage, but Uribe claims she didn’t get a text message, an email or a letter. She said people just showed up at her home and shut off her meter and dug around it. She said she asked the employees what was going on but couldn't manage to get a straight answer.

Denver7 reached out to Xcel Energy, and the company said a main line was damaged, but did not elaborate on how it happened or who is responsible.

Crews began digging outside Uribe’s home on Friday to replace the main line and the gas lines going to homes. Heavy equipment, trucks and more than two dozen employees blocked off part of Elizabeth Street and 48th Avenue as they worked to make the necessary repairs.

Uribe said the noise of the drilling, the sawing and the digging can sometimes be unbearable and frightening.

“It’s scary because we could blow up,” Uribe said.

She said the most frustrating part is not being able to take a hot shower and the lack of communication from the energy company.

The last three days, Uribe’s cooked dinner on the grill outside and used a camping stove to boil water to take a bath.

“Like old times,” Uribe said. “We got no choice.”

Xcel Energy released a statement expressing their gratitude for their customer's patience during a difficult time. It went on to say, that “significant” work still needs to be done to replace a portion of a damaged gas line.

Uribe hopes that Xcel Energy does something to make up for the inconvenience to a community she says is often overlooked.

Xcel Energy provided a new statement Monday:

“Xcel Energy crews continue working around the clock to safely restore natural gas service as quickly as possible to customers in the area of 48th and Clayton. A water line damaged our infrastructure in the Swansea neighborhood. As a result of this damage, water poured from the third party’s water line, entering our gas system and extensively damaging it as well as our customers’ gas meters. This has resulted in the outages we’ve seen in the last several days.

While we have been able to restore service to some of our customers, the impact of the water to our system was more extensive than originally anticipated and full restoration is taking longer than planned. We expect most customers to have service restored today.

We know it’s difficult to be without gas service and continue to provide food and other services, as well as ongoing communication to impacted customers. We appreciate their patience during this time. Our command center at the Lorraine Granado Park on Steele Street remains open and is staffed to answer customer questions.

As an important safety reminder, if customers detect a sulfur or “rotten egg” smell inside or near their home, they should leave their home immediately and call 1-800-895-2999 or 911.”

In an update Tuesday afternoon, Xcel reported natural gas had been restored to more than 84% of customers affected by the outage. Crews are reaching out to all affected customers in an attempt to relight their service by the end of the day. The utility company said it has been providing impacted customers with food, access to facilities and other services to minimize inconvenience.