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High demand for natural gas prompts Xcel Energy to seek usage cut

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The higher demand for energy in extreme cold is promoting Xcel Energy to ask 600 business customers in Minnesota and North Dakota to reduce their natural gas usage.

The Associated Press says the customers are those who take part in interruptible gas rates programs and have agreed to cut back on usage in exchange for reduced rates year-round. Xcel assures residential customers that its system is ready for the cold, but in the event of an outage, Xcel customers can get updates at www.xcelenergy.com.

The Star Tribune reported that both CenterPoint Energy and Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Eenergy increased the number of staff on hand in anticipation of extra service calls.

Extensive closures of public buildings and businesses may reduce the demand for power in the region.

Elsewhere, the bitter temperatures are leading to concerns with electricity. The Washington Post reported that Dominion Virginia Power is asking customers to keep their thermostats down as a way to prevent widespread power outages in the cold weather there.

The Canadian Press reported that rolling blackouts have been implemented in Newfoundland as the electrical power company copes with increased demand caused by residents and businesses cranking up their thermostats. The rotating outages are needed because the electricity grid reached its peak load.

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