Xcel Asks Some Customers to Cut Natural Gas Usage

Updated: 01/26/2014 8:48 PM
Created: 01/26/2014 8:16 AM
By: Megan Stewart

Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy is asking customers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin to reduce their natural gas usage because of a pipeline rupture in Canada.

The early Saturday morning explosion ruptured a TransCanada pipeline in Manitoba and potentially damaged two other pipelines, which have been taken out of service to be examined.

The three lines provide the main supply of natural gas to more than 100,000 Xcel Energy customers in eastern North Dakota, northwestern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, Xcel said.

Xcel is asking residential customers who use natural gas to heat their homes to turn their thermostats down to 60 and avoid using natural gas appliances. Businesses that use natural gas also are asked to conserve.

The announcement has left some businesses unable to operate. Randy Thompson, the regional manager for County Materials Corporation, said he was informed by Xcel that his business would not be able to use any natural gas through Monday at the earliest.

Thompson said his office will have to close until they are able to use the energy again.

Customers reported getting calls to restrict natural gas consumption late Saturday night. Xcel officials said they were monitoring the situation with their supplier and thought they could get the lines back in service by Saturday evening, but the situation changed.

The company says in a statement that natural gas supplies are "adequate" at present but the impact of the pipeline rupture is still being evaluated.

Xcel says it is contacting local officials to ensure they are prepared should conditions change.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

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