Electric Projects

Estes Park Power and Communications is continually striving to provide the best electrical and broadband service to its customers.

In a dynamic environment like the Rocky Mountains, regular maintenance and upgrades to the electric system are required. Performing regular system maintenance provides opportunities to upgrade and improve on an ongoing basis. Capital improvement projects are continually underway to bring large-scale long-term upgrades to the system. 

CR 43 Scheduled Power Outage - July 7, 2020

Estes Park Power and Communications has scheduled a power outage on July 7, 2020 along County Road 43 to allow the crew to set a new pole on the lower part of the switchbacks. The work will be done with a crane, requiring traffic control to be in place while the crate is in operation. Once the pole is set the crew will then transfer all powerlines and equipment to the new pole. In order to perform this work as quickly and safely as possible, crews must turn off power to the affected area.

The outage will begin at 3 p.m. and could last through 6 p.m. The affected area is along County Road 43 from the switchbacks to the end of the Estes Power & Communications service area, including all of Glen Haven and the Retreat. Outage notification signs have been placed along CR 43 and a map of the affected area can be found below.

For more information on this project, please contact Estes Park Power and Communications Administrative Assistant Sarah Clark at 970-577-3627 or sclark@estes.org.

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Electric System Inventory

Estes Park Power and Communications has contracted a crew to maintain an inventory of our electric and fiber optic system to improve and provide accuracy to system GIS maps. This inventory includes poles, powerlines, transformers, and other electrical equipment throughout the service area. At times they will be accessing right of ways on properties to walk out the powerlines and collect additional data.

Capital Improvement Projects 2020-2023

Pole Replacement and Reconductoring

This is a continuation of Power and Communications' efforts to steadily upgrade the electrical infrastructure across its service area. This project includes the replacement of poles to bring them up to current NESC electrical codes and the installation of insulated aerial power lines to increase system reliability and power quality, protect wildlife and reduce wildfire risk from faulting or sparking lines. In many locations, this means that the new electrical poles will be taller than the previously installed ones.

This project will take place across the Power and Communications service area, coordinating in part with the broadband installation efforts. Please refer to the construction projects map above to see the current work areas.

Highway 7 TripSaver Installation

Power and Communications crews are upgrading the fuses along the three-phase mainline along Highway 7 from Lily Lake to Allenspark to TripSaver Cutout Mounted Reclosers. These improvements will increase electric service reliability across the southern portion of the Power and Communications service area. A more detailed explanation of the function and operation of TripSavers can be found in the Electric Maintenance section.

Broadband Construction

Construction Updates

Refer to the construction map above for the current broadband construction areas.
Please visit www.TrailblazerBroadband.com, for more information and to sign up for updates based on service address.

Broadband construction glossary

What is Microtrenching?
Microtrenching is one of several construction methods being utilized to build-out the Town's broadband system. A "microtrench" is a small, narrow trench, usually between 0.5 and 1.5, wide and seven to 12 inches deep. The trench is cut by an asphalt or rock blade and filled with a patching compound that will protect both the conduit installed in the trench and the road on either side.

Electric Maintenance Projects

Tree Trimming

Power and Communication's goal is to provide safe and reliable electric and broadband service to its customers. The tree trimming program helps the department meet this goal. In order to do so, tree crews execute proper clearing and trimming techniques by placing emphasis on "natural trimming" to laterals (side trim, drop crotch, overhang). The lateral branch trimming technique is a recommended best practice of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Light &, Power's tree trimming program operates on a five-year cycle.

The basic trimming criteria are as follows:

  • Side Trim: Trees growing along the side, into, or toward electric power lines or utility space shall be trimmed.
  • Trim Drop Crotch: Trees directly under and growing into electric power lines should be removed or trimmed.

Power and Communications' management procedures are available on the Vegetation Management page. The tree trimming contract currently held by Adam's Tree Service.

Street light upgrades

In 2011, Power and Communications began upgrading the high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs in the street lights throughout Estes Park to LED bulbs. Power and Communications maintain over 500 streetlights in the Estes Valley including highway lights along Highways 34, 36, and 7, neighborhood street lights, and the decorative lights around downtown. Following several initial pushes to change out stretches of lights, upgrades are ongoing as the HPS lights need to be replaced. In some instances, the new LED bulbs can simply be swapped into the existing light fixture, in other cases, an adaptor must be used to upgrade the light. In some fixtures, the whole light head needs to be replaced, as there is no adaptor.

LED lights consume about 50% less energy than HPS bulbs, and last about 4 times longer. This translates into significant savings in energy costs to the Town in energy savings and maintenance costs over the lifetime of the bulbs. LED lights also increase safety and night-time visibility. The LED lights being installed along the highways and neighborhoods have an improved distribution of light compared to HPS lights. The LEDs shed light along the roadway, increasing visibility in dark spots between street light poles, rather than solely dumping light directly below street light fixtures as the HPS luminaires did. The LEDs also have a shield that can be added to reduce the amount of back-lighting that spills behind the street light pole and onto adjacent properties. LED lights also produce a white light, where HPS lights produce a light that looks yellow/orange. The white light allows colors to appear more natural at night, improving color rendering and visibility of other vehicles, pedestrians, and wildlife.

Fuse and Recloser Upgrades

Power and Communications crews are upgrading the fuses at critical junctions throughout the Light &, Power service area. TripSaver Cutout-Mounted Reclosers are installed in place of traditional cutout fuses along overhead distribution powerlines. 

Tripsaver recloser

They are often placed at the junction between the main line and lateral lines. TripSavers are an integral component of the system upgrades that Power and Communications has added to its service area.

TripSavers can be set to function two ways: as a traditional cutout fuse or as an OCR (oil circuit recloser). When set as a cutout fuse, it senses unusually high current (fault current) and opens. This breaks the circuit and turns off the power beyond that opening.
When the TripSaver is set to function in place of an OCR it can be programmed to "operate" (open and close) a certain number of times before it's locked out (opens and stays open). A TripSaver will lock out under two circumstances 1) high current for longer than a set time (1-1.5 seconds), or 2) current higher than the programmed load limit for any length of time. Otherwise, the TripSaver will operate to allow the fault to clear, this causes the power to blink, but it will stay on. For example, if a tree branch falls on the line and causes a fault, the TripSaver will operate three times, this allows time for the branch to fall off the line and clear the fault. Without the TripSaver, the single fault would cause the cutout fuse to open and power beyond that point would be lost until the fuse could be replaced.
The TripSaver has an additional setting as a safety precaution for working on energized lines. The one-shot setting programs the TripSaver to open immediately once it senses a specified load (amount of current).
TripSavers have the advantage of requiring less maintenance than an OCR since there is no oil to refill. It also maintains a record of operations, so crews have a better idea of what's happening along the line.