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Gas main pinch leaves 100 Albion homes without service

December 20, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

A misstep in switching a gas line over to a new regulator station caused most of Albion to lose gas service Wednesday morning, leaving most of the town without heat.

Ryan Stensland, spokesperson for Alliant, said the outage occurred just before 11 a.m. He said crews were doing construction and squeezed a plastic main, cutting gas service to 100 homes in the west section and southeast quadrant of Albion, leaving roughly three-quarters of the town without service.

Workers initially thought the transition to a new regulator station - where natural gas arrives, odorant is added and it's finally shipped to customers - would not impede service, Stensland said. Alliant staff believed the line to be a loop feed, meaning that as crews performed the work, the gas would be able to bypass where the work was taking place, allowing the crew to make the station switch without halting service.

However, once Alliant staff began the work, they discovered the feed was not a loop feed. Because the feed was not a loop feed, doing the needed worked without service interruption became impossible, Stensland said.

"We try to pinpoint that stuff as best we can, unfortunately it doesn't always happen," he said.

He said 25 to 26 Alliant employees began efforts to restore service Wednesday afternoon, and he said they would likely complete restoration Wednesday evening.

Although interrupting service is never ideal, Stensland said, construction crews needed to purge the old line before restoring service. Once workers had begun the work, it became easier simply to finish it with a small interruption than to start over.



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