UPDATE: Xcel Energy now telling ALL of its gas customers to turn down thermostats

There's a strain on the natural gas system, Xcel Energy says.
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UPDATE 4:45 P.M.

Xcel Energy is now asking all of its gas customers in Minnesota to keep their thermostats low due to significant strain on its natural gas system caused by the polar vortex.

The utility says it wants customers throughout the state to reduce their thermostat settings to 63F through 9 a.m. Thursday morning.

"This step can help ensure that all of our customers continue to have gas service during this bitterly cold weather," it said.

Meanwhile, customers in Princeton continue to be without gas, with Xcel putting them up in several hotels throughout the city until Thursday.

11 A.M.

Xcel Energy customers in several Minnesota cities are being told to turn down their thermostats due to a strain on its natural gas system.

The cities involved in the request are just north and northwest of the metro area, including Becker, Big Lake, Chisago City, Lindstrom, Princeton and Isanti.

"Until further notice, you are urged to turn down your thermostat to 60 degrees or lower and avoid the use of other natural gas appliances including hot water," Xcel said on its website.

The request will make conditions chilly inside the homes of residents in said cities, given that wind chills in the Twin Cities are at around 50 below this morning.

"Your cooperation is critical to try to prevent widespread natural gas outages," Xcel added. "To try to keep your home warm, you may want to use electric space heaters."

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The situation is worse in Princeton, where around 150 Xcel customers experienced a gas outage around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday night as temperatures plummeted.

Service hasn't yet been restored, with Xcel Energy advising residents to leave their homes and head to local hotels to stay warm.

Xcel's electrical systems experienced outages in the Twin Cities last night, with more than 6,500 homes losing power, some for several hours, predominantly in the southern metro suburbs of Bloomington, Burnsville and Savage.

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