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Xcel Asks Customers To Turn Down Natural Gas Heat

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Xcel Energy is asking certain natural gas customers, in three states, to turn down their heat. The request comes after a natural gas pipeline exploded in Canada Saturday morning.

The line ruptured just south of Winnipeg and forced several home evacuations. The flames burned for several hours before the gas was shut off.

That particular line supplies natural gas to customers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

In all, about 100,000 people are affected.

In a press release, the company said it still has an adequate supply of natural gas, but is still evaluating the situation.

Supplies most at-risk are in the Fargo/Moorhead area, Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, Brainerd and the Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Menomonie areas in west-central Wisconsin.

Customers in those areas, who use natural gas, are asked to turn their thermostats down to 60 and avoid using natural gas appliances.

In addition to those particular areas, the company is also asking all of its natural gas customers to turn down their heat to keep the system stable.

This comes at a time when temperatures are expected to dip below zero over the next couple of days.

During a deep freeze, many homeowners have a tendency to turn up their heat.

“We really need to balance the load with the supply and if the load is greater than the supply is, it could mean that some customers don’t get service,” said Kent Larson, of Xcel Energy.

Xcel also says there’s the possibility the gas line rupture could impact other parts of Minnesota, including the east Twin Cities metro area.

Southern Minnesota gets natural gas supplies from pipelines to the south.

The company is also asking all its customers to turn down their heat as much as possible to maintain stability system-wide.

Xcel hopes to update the situation later Sunday.

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