Pipeline error cuts natural gas service to Monticello
Nov 06, 2013 | 5607 views | 0 0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Williams Pipeline has accepted responsibility for the human error that cut off natural gas service in Monticello beginning on Halloween Day.

The shortage cut off natural gas service to the entire community for the remainder of the day. This caused significant disruptions at nearly every home and business in town.

Natural gas service was restored to most customers within 36 hours, thanks in large part to a small army of 35 Questar employees who descended on Monticello from areas across the state.

The Questar crews first shut off every gas meter in town, and then recharged the gas lines.

Until that task could be completed, the Questar crews also brought five compressed natural gas (CNG) trailers with them, which they used to restore natural gas service to critical areas, including Monticello Elementary and High schools, the health service clinic, the public safety building, and the North LDS Chapel.

The San Juan Hospital operated their diesel generators to provide heat to the hospital. The hospital has a two-week supply of diesel in case of emergency.

The LDS chapel was identified as a shelter for those in need. Despite the cold night, no one came to the shelter for the night as neighbors reached out to neighbors to ensure that all were safe and warm.

On Friday, November 1, the Questar employees began the job of recharging the gas lines and relighting appliances throughout the town. They started with critical businesses and the homes of the elderly and handicapped. By mid day, many homes had service restored.

One challenge was that a large number of area residents were out of town due to high school volleyball and football events. By the evening of Saturday, November 2, all but a handful of homes had service restored.

As the Questar crews spent time at each location, a number of area residents said that they were made aware of problems with their appliances. It also was a busy day for repairmen and plumbers.

A valve was apparently left partially open on a Williams pipeline for several weeks or even months. However, the valve allowed enough natural gas to pass through to meet the need in Monticello through the warmer months.

However, demand spiked when temperatures dropped to 25 degrees on the morning of October 31, resulting in a decrease in the supply due to the partially closed valve.

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