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The City of Duluth is asking some residents and business owners to turn down their thermostats — and keep them low until further notice — to ensure everyone can still have some heat.

All residential and commercial natural gas customers east of Lake Avenue are asked to turn their thermostats down to 62 degrees until further notice, the city said Friday afternoon

This impacts about 7,000 to 8,000 homes, officials said.

Initially, the city early Friday morning asked those in the Lakeside and Woodland neighborhoods to turn their thermostats down to 62 degrees until 11 a.m. 

But the city expanded and extended its request to include more areas of the city to make sure people across the city can continue to have at least some heat, Mayor Emily Larson said during a news conference on Friday.

"Making this change will help the city reduce the overall load on the system and avoid the possibility of a neighborhood-by-neighborhood shutdown of gas," the city said. 

This comes after a contractor drove a piling through a large gas main in the Lincoln Park area Thursday night, which prompted the city to shut off gas in the area, which impacted one customer. 

"City staff has been working around the clock since the incident took place to find ways to keep businesses and homes heated and not impact gas service to customers," the city said Friday afternoon. "The city would like to thank customers for their help in not overburdening the system."

Crews are hoping to repair the gas main soon but there is no timeline for when people can turn up their heat, citing a high water table in the area where the main was hit. 

It is possible the request to keep thermostats at 62 degrees will continue into Saturday, with Mayor Larson saying people should be prepared for that. 

The city says it will provide updates as things progress, and if the heat has to be shut off, there will be shelters for those impacted. 

The temperature in Duluth dipped well below zero Friday morning, with a high of 13 expected Friday afternoon. The low Friday night will be around 2 degrees with a high of 22 in the forecast for Saturday, the National Weather Service says.

See the original story below.

The City of Duluth is asking some residents and business owners to turn down their thermostats immediately to avoid a neighborhood gas shutdown.

Those in the Lakeside and Woodland neighborhoods are asked to turn their thermostats to 62 degrees immediately and keep it turned down until 11 a.m. Friday to help reduce "the overall load on the system and avoid the possibility of a neighborhood by neighborhood shutdown of gas," the city said

The city's request comes after a contractor in the Lincoln Park area drove through a piling and hit a large gas main. 

"The City of Duluth took immediate steps to shut off gas in the area which impacted one customer," the city said.

The temperature in Duluth Friday morning was 8 below zero. 

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