Rolling pipeline outages in West Texas have impeded the delivery of natural gas coming into New Mexico, and thousands of homes and businesses are without the key fuel needed for their heaters and furnaces.
The New Mexico Natural Gas Company says its pipeline system is intact and their crews are working to minimize the impact of the outage.
The City of Albuquerque has activated its Emergency Operation Center, and some 20,000 people have reported their furnaces are out in the state's largest city.
Outages are being reported in smaller cities including Alamogordo, Ruidoso, Espanola, the entire town of Bernalillo, Taos, and most of Otero County.
Residents are encouraged to remain in their homes if they can use safe alternative sources of heat to keep warm, such as electric heaters, wood or pellet stoves, and electric blankets.
Officials say DO NOT use unvented heaters, grills, propane or kerosene heaters or camp stoves inside their homes or enclosed spaces, as these can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Once gas pressure is restored, New Mexico Gas Company technicians will need to relight each home and business individually. A blue tag will be left to schedule a relight if you aren't home when our technicians visit.
Officials with the gas company are warning customers to think safety first and to seek shelter.
The safety of our customers is of top concern. New Mexico Gas Company has been working with National, County and State emergency services and officials, as well as local assistance agencies.
Emergency shelters have been set up at these locations for residents unable to safely remain at home. These heated facilities will have coats, blankets, food and water, and other emergency relief in coordination with the Red Cross and/or National Guard.
* Alamogordo: Alamogordo Civic Center at 800 East First Street, at the corner of South Florida and First Street.
* Silver City: Grants County Conference Center at 3050 Hwy 180E (next to Ace Hardware); phone: 575-388-3180
* Questa: Alta Vista Elementary School gym at 2556 State Road 522
* Espanola: Beatrice Martinez Senior Center at 735 Vietnam Veterans Way
Officials urge neighbors to check on friends, especially the elderly, sick or homebound.
For additional assistance or help getting to an emergency shelter:
In Alamogordo and Otero County:
* Alamogordo Department of Public Safety: 575-439-4300
* Otero County Sheriff: 575-437-2210
* Tularosa Police Dept.: 575-585-2704
In Silver City:
* Convention Center: 575-388-1198, Ext. 10 (no charge)
* Corre Caminos: 575-388-3180 ($2.50 and 50 cents each additional person at same address)
* Mayor's Office: 575-586-0694 or 586-1610
For regular updates check the New Mexico Natural Gas' emergency update webpage.
Update 11a: ABQ Officials Respond
At a mid-morning news conference, Mayor Richard Berry said the outages are "historic" and he and his staff are coordinating their response with Governor Susana Martinez. For now he said widespread outage have not hit the city. To avoid more serious problems, the mayor asked residents to lower their thermostats by at least 10 degrees and pull on a sweater.
Anyone seeking shelter in Albuquerque is asked to call the city's 311 service.
Update 615p - State of Emergency
KRQE TV reports:
Gov. Susana Martinez has declared a state of emergency as arctic temperatures and unprecedented demand for gas and electric heat left thousands of consumers without basic utilities.
Martinez signed two executive orders, one declaring the emergency and the second lifting limits on the number of hours propane-delivery drivers can work.
Martinez earlier had ordered thermostats lowered in all state buildings and sent non-critical state workers home to help conserve energy supplies. She also urged New Mexicans to lower their thermostats to reduce energy demand.
In an afternoon news conference in Albuquerque, a Gas Company of New Mexico official said the extreme weather conditions may affect gas deliver for another day or two. He also said the company expected demand to rise, but the below-zero temperatures and power brownouts in west Texas combined to reduce natural gas pressure in New Mexico.
When pressure drops below certain levels, gas in those areas must be shut off for the safety of the system, he said.UNM Closed until Monday - Local Hotels offer discounted rooms
Officials at the University of New Mexico notified students at it's Albuquerque campus that it will remain closed through Sunday Feb. 6 to help N.M. get through energy crisis. Normal operations to resume Feb. 7.
Hotels in the Duke City have responded to Mayor Berry's call for help and are offering discounted room rates to people affected by power or gas outages.
These are just several around the City that have offered discounts:
- Plaza Inn $39
- Fairfield Inn $49
- Hampton Inn $69
- Marriott Pyramid $69
- La Qunita Suites Midtown $69
- Holiday Inn Express on 12th Street $69