Craig Station’s Unit 3 expected to be offline for months to complete repairs and maintenance | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Station’s Unit 3 expected to be offline for months to complete repairs and maintenance

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck

Craig Station is one of the biggest economic drivers in Moffat County.

CRAIG ­– A fault in the main generator has taken Unit 3 offline at Craig Station, and repairs to the generator are being combined with scheduled spring maintenance. The unit is expected to be offline for the next several months.

The generator experienced a fault on Dec. 16, and crews are determining the cause of the issue, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association's spokesperson Lee Boughey said in an email.

Parts must be manufactured and obtained, and an onsite contractor must complete repairs to get the generator running again. Boughey said the work could bring about 12 contractors to Craig. Maintenance originally scheduled for May will also be completed at this time. Boughey said most of this work will be completed by Craig Station personnel and local contractors.

He added the outage will not impact Tri-State's ability to provide electricity to members.

“Craig Station Unit 3 plays a significant role in our ability to generate electricity for our members,” Tri-State Senior Vice President of Generation Barry Ingold said in a statement. “Our goal is to safely repair the unit and bring it online as soon as possible.”

The annual outage, which, in the past, has brought several hundred visiting workers to Craig, usually provided a boost to local tourism and lodging, filling up hotels and bringing in sales tax dollars. Craig Mayor John Ponikvar said fewer visiting workers during this year's outage is a hit the city has been bracing for.

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"Some of the conservative decisions we've been making around the budget are with the understanding that we aren't going to have a big outage this year, and we're not going to have the sales taxes that were generated there in the past," Ponikvar said. "We understand how important this plant and these generation units are. Continued maintenance on them is vitally important for our community."

Co-owner of Elk Run Inn Randy Looper echoed the sentiment. He wasn't expecting an outage at all this year. He said this outage, albeit smaller than in the past, has been good for business, as visiting workers are staying in his hotel.

"Overall, in spring, a lot of the hotels live and die by what the power plants do," Looper said. "There are good years, when they're doing big shutdowns. There are OK years, when they're doing smaller shutdowns, and there are bad years, when there are no shutdowns," he said.