Power outage caused by accident

On Sunday, Sept. 8, Empire Electric experienced an outage south of Cortez along U.S Highway 491/160. A driver in a pickup heading north sheared off one of the main line poles for the electrical distribution circuit serving the area.

The outage began at 7:30 a.m. and affected an area from about the port of entry near the intersection of County Road G and Highway 491/160 south to within one mile of the Ute Mountain Ute reservation boundary. Crews first worked to isolate the affected area by back feeding those south of the outage from a substation on the reservation. Initially, the outage affected 457 consumers for about three hours. Once the damaged pole was isolated only one consumer was left without power until the crews were able to replace the pole, transformer and service wire.

An additional short outage was needed to return all switches to their normal operating position, and power was fully restored at 3:12 p.m.

Empire Electric would like to thank those affected by the outage for their patience, along with the Colorado State Patrol officers who helped keep the area secure while our crews did their work.

Although the driver of the vehicle walked away without serious injury, once the line was isolated and the damaged pole was secured, the pickup had to be detached and pulled away from the hardware and pole debris before replacement work could start.