DENVER – Black Hills Energy groups continued to work to shut down gas service to about 3,500 customers Monday afternoon, with three of their sites destroyed over the weekend, and Bitcoin County officials said Customers in the Aspen area will be without heat and hot water until at least Tuesday morning.
One of the sites destroyed Saturday night was in Aspen and the other two in Bitcoin County. District and city officials said Monday afternoon that a criminal investigation is underway.
Customers were told Saturday evening that they had lost gas pressure, and as the investigation continued Sunday, Black Hills Energy discovered additional problems with gas connections and began turning off meters for affected customers.
Vance Crocker, executive vice president of Black Hills Energy, said during a virtual public meeting on Monday evening that the group hoped to shut down the entire organization from Monday evening until later in the afternoon. Go to every place of customers Although he did not specify when the lines would be cleared and when it would occur, he did not specify when it would occur, although he hoped the process would be completed by 11pm on Monday night. Black Hills Energy plans to lay off about 100 employees from across the state.
“We must first make sure all gas meters are turned off and then clean the system so we are ready to reintroduce the natural gas supply. Finally, our technicians will go door-to-door and delight every customer’s gas appliances,” Crocker said in a statement.
District officials said Black Hills Energy teams will begin refurbishing people pilot lights and gas-powered devices by 5 a.m. Tuesday. They ask that no one try to reconsider their devices themselves. People with non-urgent questions can call 888-890-5554.
The FBI has been called in to help with the investigation because it involves critical utility infrastructure, and the investigation is being led by Aspen police, according to APD’s Bill Lynn.
Lynn said the vandalism all took place at the same time on Saturday and that there was damage to the closed gas connections, two of the three floors were open and not inside the buildings.
One of the sites had the name of the group Earth First written on it, but on Monday officials declined to explain whether the name had anything to do with carnage. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said he did not believe the carnage would qualify as terrorism.
The word “attack” has been thrown around a lot, “said Joe D’Salvo, a spokeswoman for Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.” This is not a term I use.
Authorities said physical evidence, including footprints, had been recovered from all three shots.
Crimes under investigation include danger to public use, robbery and criminal damages, Lynn said.
Note for inquiries is set at 970-924-0614. The county prison is running on electric heating, Tsalvo said.
Lynn said a small number of space heaters provided by Black Hills Energy are installed at Aspen Police Headquarters, located on 540 East Main Road. They came out at 6:20 pm, but said there were still 3,600 ways.
The city is asking people to park on the north side of Main Street or in the parking lots in front of the Concept 600 building. Individuals who pull and open their passenger windows will leave heaters inside for non-contact distribution.
Those who are unable to come to the police station can call 970-920-5310 and request one and an officer will pick them up as soon as possible.
Bitcoin County and Aspen City host a community meeting on Monday at 6pm in Zoom, which you can attend Click here.
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