For immediate release: 5:00 p.m. – Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Before winter 2019, San Isabel Electric members from the New Mexico state line to Walsenburg will experience fewer and shorter power outages.

The increased power reliability is due to new materials being installed in several construction projects scheduled to begin this spring or to be complete before winter.

The new materials include switches and re-closers that can help isolate problems and restore power faster, transformers that have upgraded lightning and ground-fault protection, new poles, higher-capacity underground line and aluminum, steel-core reinforced overhead wire.

The new materials and equipment will better tolerate storms and other causes of outages and helps the co-op locate outage causes more quickly. New construction techniques and modern materials will make the upgraded equipment last longer than the old equipment. And, because the upgraded equipment will be brand new, there will be fewer outage-related repair costs and maintenance costs – which helps ensure steady rates for member-owners.

The rebuild projects are part of the co-ops long-term strategy to keep operational costs down and ensure steady rates for many years to come. San Isabel Electric member-owners have only experienced one rate increase in the last decade. The co-op has said it does not anticipate any rate increases in the near future.

The co-op is not anticipating any outages during construction of any of the upgrade projects. A brief outage, lasting fewer than five minutes will be necessary after construction is complete on each project to switch members from the old equipment to the new equipment. Members will be notified in advance before the outage.

Cuchara Valley & Panadero upgrade project (800 members affected)

More than six miles of underground line running to the Cuchara and Panadero areas will be replaced, beginning in May. This has been a multi-year project. The old underground line has caused numerous outages in the area and has reached the end of its usable life. There will be some minor detours in these areas. Detour information and maps will be regularly updated at siea.com/CucharaValley. Construction is expected to be complete before winter 2019.

Trinidad to Burro Canyon upgrade project (1,400 members affected)

Everything from the ground up in the 12-mile section of line running from Trinidad to Burro Canyon will be upgraded. Since 2017, the co-op has completed a 74-mile upgrade on its’ main 69 kilovolt transmission line that runs from Pueblo area to Trinidad. The rebuild of the last 12-mile section, from Trinidad to Burro Canyon, is the last phase of the 69kv upgrade project. Construction will begin in May and is expected to be complete before winter 2019 from Trinidad to Starkville. Construction will resume in the spring of 2020 from Starkville to Burro Canyon and is expected to be complete by winter of 2020. More information about the Trinidad to Burro Canyon upgrade project is available at siea.com/BurroCanyonUpgrades

Rural Trinidad east of I-25 upgrade project (300 members affected)

In January of 2019, construction for a complete ground-up upgrade began on the eight-mile section of line between Highways 160 and 350 eastern Las Animas County. In addition to reducing the frequency and length of outages, the project will also increase capacity and provide redundant power to the surrounding areas. This project is expected to be complete before summer of 2019. More information about the rural Trinidad east of I-25 upgrade project is available at siea.com/TrinidadUpgrades.

City of Walsenburg upgrade project (3,268 members affected)

The upgrades to the City of Walsenburg’s system are expected to be completed early 2020. In 2013, San Isabel Electric began upgrading Walsenburg’s old system with the new modern materials. In July 2017, a full-time crew was dedicated to the project and others as needed. More information about the Walsenburg upgrade project is available at siea.com/WalsenburgUpgrades.

More information about all of San Isabel Electric’s upgrade projects, including interactive maps and frequently asked questions, is available at siea.com/system.


As a not-for-profit cooperative utility, San Isabel Electric provides affordable, reliable electricity with exceptional service to communities throughout southern Colorado. Serving nearly 20,000 Member-owners and 24,000 meters, San Isabel Electric has been keeping the lights on since 1938. We don’t just serve communities. We are part of communities.