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Turn it back up: Xcel lifts request for natural gas conservation

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Xcel Energy has given its natural gas customers in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota the okay to move the thermostat from cool back to comfy.

The Associated Press reports that the Minneapolis-based utility lifted its appeal for conservation that came after an explosion near Winnipeg ruptured natural gas pipelines.

The Fargo Forum reports that customers of Great Plains Natural Gas also got the word that they can dial it back up. Both companies asked customers to curtail their natural gas use and hold off on using natural gas-powered home appliances in the aftermath of the explosion. The call for conservation came as the territory faced another stretch of bitter cold.

CenterPoint provides natural gas to much of Minnesota and its customers were not impacted by the explosion.

A statement from Xcel indicates there was progress on Monday to restore normal natural gas transmission service, with the fuel once again flowing to the region in one of two pipelines that were shut down for inspection after a third pipeline was ruptured. Xcel anticipates its system will be returned to full capacity later on Monday.

“Our customers are amazing,” Kent Larson, Xcel Energy’s senior vice president of operations said in a statement. “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.

The Eau Claire Leader Telegram had Xcel's map of the impacted communities, along with a company statement, also posted on Facebook, that congratulated customers for their cooperation. "Your conservation efforts were amazing," it read. "Our system was stable overnight. We can see that natural gas flows are increasing from TransCanada pipeline into our pipeline service provider, Viking Gas Transmission."

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