Valley-wide power outage

Photo courtesy San Luis Valley REC A snowstorm caused an electric transmission line to fail on Friday morning that resulted in the entire San Luis Valley without power for several hours.

Storm causes transmission line failure on Poncha Pass

SAN LUIS VALLEY —A winter storm caused a large power outage and impacted the entire San Luis Valley when a power line tripped and failed on Poncha Pass at about 7:40 a.m., on Friday morning.

Lee Boughey with the electricity distribution cooperative, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association told the Valley Courier that, "Due to the heavy, wet snow, both the 115kV transmission line operated by Xcel Energy and the 230kV transmission line operated by Tri-State and Western Area Power Administration tripped, resulting in the outage in the valley from 7:40 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. [power to most of Alamosa was restored at 11 a.m.

"Tri-State's 230kV line is back in service, but at this time, [1 p.m. Friday] the 115kv line from the north remains out of service. The utilities are all coordinating on this issue.

"Notably, Tri-State is providing crews, poles, and equipment to help replace structures damaged on the SLVREC system."

Shortly after the Valley lost power, the San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative (SLVREC) posted this to Facebook, "We have 21 transmission structures down affecting members from Waverly to San Acacio. Crews are working on distribution backfeed to restore power to our members. The hope is to have members back up by late morning if there are no issues with the main distribution line. Tri-State crews will arrive later today to assist."

Colorado Public Radio reported Costilla County Emergency Manager Lucas Casias stating, "We've had power outages in the past in our area, but Valley-wide power outage, no. This is something new that we're experiencing right now…at least that I'm aware of."

Power to most of the Valley was restored at 11 a.m.