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Utility companies try to reduce risk of electrical fires

Reducing Risk of Electrical Fires

PEYTON, Colo. - Several recent fires in Southern Colorado have been electrical, but utility companies said they work regularly to reduce them.

Darryl Edwards, with Mountain View Electric Association, said the company conducts continual inspections in its coverage areas. Distribution lines get checked on a three-year rotation basis.

"We use an infrared imaging equipment to look for hot spots within equipment that gives us some indication of whether it has a potential to fail or not," Edwards said.

He said crews know what to look for and they seek visual signs like loose connections.

The company also performs vegetation control, keeping its substation away from grass. Instead, the ground is covered with gravel.

A third strategy is regular tree-trimming, to keep branches away from the power lines. Mountain View has continual, scheduled tree-trimmings and it also responds to calls from customers who notice branches growing too close to or falling into power lines.

Colorado Springs also practices tree-trimming, vegetation control and inspections.

"We look to see if the infrastructure is dirty or dusty and needs to be cleaned off, and really just look for any potential future safety hazards," Colorado Springs Utilities representative Cheron Cole said.

Both representatives said if customers see damaged equipment or branches getting too close to power lines, give the company a call, and it will inspect it.

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