Craig Station spring outage brings business | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Station spring outage brings business

Patrick Kelly

The spring outage at Craig Station is not just an opportunity for Tri-State Generation and Transmission to preform routine maintenance and repairs — it's an important economic driver for Craig.

This year's outage brings 26 outside contractors to Craig, providing a significant portion of the 450 personnel who work on the outage and boosting the amount of money spent locally.

In the lodging industry, the impact is abundantly evident, said Randy Looper, owner of Elk Run Inn.

"It's huge," he said.

Looper said this year the outage at Craig Station coincides with the outage at Hayden Generating Station, providing an even more significant boost in business.

"It's been three to four years, at least, since I've seen it this busy," he said.

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According to data from Moffat County Tourism Association, occupancy rates for March 2015 are up 80.5 percent from March 2014.

Melody Villard, director of Moffat County Tourism Association, said this is because last year the scheduled outage did not occur.

Lodging last spring was significantly below normal levels. With no outage at Craig Station, the normal influx of workers was missing and the lodging community suffered.

But this year, the increased traffic is helping hotel owners like Looper recover and leading to more spending in other areas of town.

"I have full kitchens so a lot of them are spending money at the grocery store for food, in addition to eating out," Looper said, adding that some of his customers have also spent money on trips to the emergency room and dentist appointments.

This year, Tri-State will spend approximately $40 million on the outage with an estimated 155,000 man-hours to complete the project, which began on March 26.

The outage was schedule to end May 9 but due to the discovery of additional maintenance that needed to be preformed it will be extended.

"We have the flexibility although we don't like to take it," said Tim Osborn, operations superintendent for Craig Station.

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