The entire city of Monticello was without natural gas Thursday as a result of a valve issue miles away.
The gas problems began about 9 a.m. when several people in the small southeastern Utah town reported problems with their service, according to Questar Gas spokesman Darren Shepherd. Technicians soon discovered that the pressure in the gas lines in the town was extremely low. As a result, they went from house to house shutting off gas and checking the system.
Shepherd said about 750 customers were affected.
By Thursday afternoon, technicians discovered there was no leak in the city's natural gas system. Shepherd said they then traced the problem to an interstate pipeline miles away. Questar contacted the company that operates the pipeline, which was able to correct the problem. Shepherd did not immediately know the exact cause of the low pressure but said it stemmed from a valve on the interstate pipe.
Questar technicians will begin going house to house to turn on gas and reignite appliances Friday at 8 a.m. They hope to have service restored to all homes by Friday evening. Some businesses in the community already had gas service Thursday, but Questar opted to wait to reconnect homes because it was late and technicians would have to knock on doors and wake people up. Critical facilities such as schools have also been connected to a temporary gas supply.
Until service returns, however, many homes remain without gas and heat. Shepherd said the north LDS church building has been set up as a shelter for people who might be too cold. The National Weather Service predicted the overnight low would be 29 degrees.
Questar also has created a web page with information for residents of Monticello.
Shepherd added that a city wide outage was extremely rare and had never happened during the more than two decades he has been with the company.