MINERAL COUNTY — As with other communities throughout the San Luis Valley, the Mineral County Miner received several inquiries regarding the recent power outage that affected Alamosa, Saguache and Rio Grande counties just before the new year and Mineral County Emergency Manager Terry Wetherill provided an update.
“We have been enjoying a few days of very warm daytime temperatures even with blue sky days. We all know that this weather will not last, and that January and February are typically our coldest months. On Dec. 30, 2021, a wildfire in Boulder County, Colo., affected many residents in Alamosa, Saguache and Rio Grande counties. At the request of public safety officials, Xcel Energy turned off natural gas and electric service to customers in Superior and Louisville to minimize safety concerns related to the ongoing wildfires. Xcel Energy restored power as soon as it was able, yet many customers had cause for concern,” Wetherill said.
Wetherill continued, “Longtime residents of Mineral County learned long ago that we need to be rather self-sufficient when it comes to power and power outages. The reality is all the power that comes to the San Luis Valley, including most of Mineral County, comes over Poncha Pass. So, if something should cause an interruption of that power, we would all be without power at the same time, which would be a big deal especially if it happened in the dead of winter. The town of Creede has already started to address this situation with the installation of emergency generators for its water supply system and there are things residents and visitors can do to also be prepared.”
“Many Mineral County residents have a source of heat for their home that can be run without power from the electrical grid, and many would hardly notice a power grid outage. Alternative sources of heat and electricity include a wood stove or a small portable generator with an extension cord that typically runs from the generator outside into their home and to their heating system. Those that live outside of the city could always come into town and fill water containers and be able to still flush toilets and could cook with the aid of generators. There are plans in place through the Emergency Management Plan that would help with such situations.
“It doesn’t take much planning on these nice warm days to make sure that should something occur during those cold dark nights, our lives will not be that inconvenienced. Understanding that most of our Mineral County First Responders are on more than one team, for example, the Fire Department and EMT and Search and Rescue, highlights our need to take responsibility for our own safety that way those responders will be available to help those who have a real emergency rather than a personal difficulty. It’s up to you to be prepared as much as possible but we are always here to help,” Wetherill added.
Wetherill encourages anyone who may have questions about how to prepare for such events, to reach out to his department or utilize other resources that can help them prepare including tips from Colorado Department of Homeland Security which can be found at https://dhsem.colorado.gov/info-center/readycolorado/be-prepared.