ATCO workers hurry to restore gas to Red Deer homes

ATCO Gas employees from across the province spent Tuesday and Wednesday remedying a large gas outage that hit neighbourhoods in south Red Deer early Tuesday morning.

ATCO Gas employees from across the province spent Tuesday and Wednesday remedying a large gas outage that hit neighbourhoods in south Red Deer early Tuesday morning.

The outage, caused by an equipment issue, occurred around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Gas pressure was back up again by 8:30 a.m., but 4,500 customers had already been affected by the outage.

Affected areas were the Bower, Sunnybrook South, Lancaster, Inglewood and Vanier Woods neighbourhoods, along with Petrolia Park, Waskasoo Trailer Park, Clearview Industrial and Gasoline Alley. A handful of rural customers to the south and east of the city were affected as well.

Jamie Jaques, ATCO Gas senior manager for the Red Deer district, said employees started going door-to-door to relight customers’ gas appliances on Tuesday morning.

“The focus quickly went to getting our customers gas service again and going door-to-door relighting customers. Because it affected such a large number, we brought in additional resources from all across the province. Those folks worked all through the night and continued to work today to get our remaining customers relit,” said Jaques.

He said that 75 per cent of connections had been restored as of early Wednesday afternoon. He declined to speculate on when all connections might be restored, citing the fact that some customers might be away from their homes.

While Jaques said employees — wearing company issued identification — will continue to go door-to-door to relight furnaces and appliances, customers who feel comfortable relighting their own appliances can go to the ATCO Gas website for videos and instructions on how to do so.

If a customer does so, they are asked to leave a note on their front door indicating as much, said Jaques. He said the outage was “fairly large” and a rare occurrence throughout ATCO’s “safe and reliable gas distribution system.”

“We just really want to thank our customers for their patience and want to reassure them that we’re going to get to them as soon as we can. Given the scope of this particular incident, it’s going to take us some time to go door-to-door, so we really appreciate their patience,” said Jaques.

ATCO is still investigating exactly what caused the problem.

For instructions on how to restart the flow of gas to your home, visit www.atcogas.com and follow the links.