Gunshot caused power outage over the weekend

By John Gardner
The Surveyor

Nearly 3,000 Berthoud, Longmont and even a few southern Loveland residents were affected by a power outage Saturday night into Sunday morning as crews worked to fix a transformer that was damaged by a gunshot.

According to Gabriel Romero, an Xcel Energy spokesperson, the outage occurred Saturday night just after 10 p.m. when the Xcel substation lost power from an incoming transmission line. Power was restored to the 2,911 local Xcel customers about 10 a.m. Sunday morning, Romero said.

Romero confirmed Monday morning that a transformer within close proximity to the substation had been damaged by a gunshot. He said that local authorities are investigating the incident, but added that this type of outage was unusual.

“I don’t know how often people shoot at transmission lines, but we don’t usually see outages due to gunshot damage to our equipment,” Romero said.

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the issue but as of Monday had little information. According to sheriff’s office spokesman David Moore, the investigation is trying to determine where the round came from and who discharged the weapon, but also if it was an intentional or unintentional act.

The suspects face criminal mischief charges if it’s determined to be an intentional act, Moore said. Depending upon the dollar amount of damaged caused could determine if it is a felony or misdemeanor.

Poudre Valley REA customers in Berthoud were also affected by the outage Saturday night, however, according to Amy Blunck, PVREA spokeswoman, those customers were up and running again about 2 a.m. as the company was able to shift those customers to another substation for power.