All News

Winter is here and for those who take advantage of winter activities in our area, bring on the snow! Snow also creates several challenges for our service territory. Commuting and traveling while navigating icy roadways can be an exercise in both anxiety and caution. Driving too fast can lead to an accident involving another car, hitting a curb, or damaging electrical equipment that knocks out power to hundreds of our neighbors. 

“If a transformer, junction box, or meter pedestal gets damaged due to a vehicle accident or plowing, it may lead to extremely extended outage times due to lack of replacements, shortages, and lead times,” explains Jerry Sutherlin, Vice President of Operations at LPEA.  

Here in rural southwest Colorado, we are not immune to the supply chain issues impacting industries across the United States. Electric utilities like LPEA are feeling the pinch, with record-low stock and record-long wait times for key materials like wire, transformers, and electric meters.   

Power outage data from the last three years reveals how much electrical equipment is at risk from a wayward car. Of all incidents unrelated to weather or random equipment failure, vehicle accidents trigger the most outages, followed by dig-related damage to underground wires and vandalism to equipment. 

Cumulatively, vehicle accidents, hit underground lines, and vandalism account for about 17% to 18% of the time electricity was not available in 2019, 2020, and 2021. 

If an individual causes damage to LPEAs electrical equipment, they are liable and responsible for all costs. LPEA members can help protect our grid and prevent extended outages by driving safely and slowing down this winter season. 

For more information on what to do if you hit a power pole or other electric equipment, click here