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Xcel Energy asks natural gas customers to conserve

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Xcel Energy asks natural gas customers to conserve

2014-01-25 00:00:00.0

MINNEAPOLIS – In the wake of a pipeline rupture in Canada early Saturday morning, Xcel Energy asked natural gas customers in North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota to conserve.

“Our natural gas supplies currently are adequate, but the situation in the wake of the rupture in a pipeline just south of Winnipeg is still being evaluated,” said Kent Larson, Xcel Energy’s senior vice president for operations.

Supplies most at risk are those to Fargo and Grand Forks in North Dakota; East Grand Forks, Moorhead and Brainerd in Minnesota; and the Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Menomonie areas in west-central Wisconsin.

Xcel Energy is asking residential customers in those areas 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.

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

“Customers should consider using electric space heaters if possible; however, caution should be taken to avoid overloading circuits,” Larson said.   “Also, please check on elderly or sick relatives or neighbors to ensure they are safe.”

There is a very remote possibility that supplies for Xcel Energy’s customers in the east Twin Cities metro area, including St. Paul, and other parts of Minnesota also could be affected, Larson said, although southern Minnesota also gets natural gas supplies from pipelines to the south.

“As a precaution and to maintain system stability, we are asking all natural gas customers to turn their thermostats down as far as possible -- unless doing so would pose a danger to their health or safety -- and to avoid running natural gas appliances. We expect to know more by mid-day Sunday.”

Additionally, Xcel Energy tonight implemented its Interruptible Gas Rates programs for business customers, as it has several times already this winter during extreme cold spells. Nearly 600 business customers in Minnesota and North Dakota and 250 in Wisconsin and Michigan who participate in the program were asked to reduce natural gas usage beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday. Customers in these programs have agreed to cut back on usage at the company’s request in exchange for reduced rates year-round.

Updates will be posted on Xcel Energy’s website and on Facebook and Twitter.

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