FW: Natural gas is flowing to Xcel Energy's Upper Midwest system; company lifts some conservation appeals
11 a.m., Jan. 27, 2014
Natural gas is flowing to Xcel Energy’s Upper Midwest system;
company lifts some conservation appeals
FARGO – Progress continued today on restoring normal natural gas transmission service to parts of Xcel Energy’s service territory in the Upper Midwest, and the company has lifted conservation appeals for some customers.
Natural gas is flowing to the region after operations resumed Sunday on one of two pipelines that was shut down for inspection Saturday after a third TransCanada line was ruptured in a blast just south of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“We expect the system to be back at full capacity by this afternoon and, if all goes well, we will return to normal operations,” said Kent Larson, Xcel Energy’s senior vice president of operations.
In order to safely return the system to full capacity, Xcel Energy is lifting its conservation appeal in a controlled fashion, Larson said.
“Customers in North Dakota and Minnesota immediately may begin dialing their thermostats back up and using natural gas appliances,” Larson said. “We expect to lift the conservation appeal for customers in western Wisconsin at about noon today.”
Xcel Energy is notifying about 100,000 customers in the areas that were most at risk – eastern North Dakota, northwestern and central Minnesota and western Wisconsin – that conservation appeals have been or soon will be lifted.
“Our customers are amazing,” Larson said. “We know keeping their homes at 60 degrees for nearly two days in this extremely cold weather was very uncomfortable. But the effort was worth it, and it helped us maintain the system so no one experienced outages.”
While the appeal to residential and business customers to conserve is being lifted, the company’s Interruptible Gas Rates programs remain in effect for most participants. 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.