NEW INFORMATION: Xcel among power companies lifting natural gas conservation request

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Xcel Energy says it is lifting its conservation request for Western Wisconsin following a pipeline rupture in Canada.

On Monday afternoon, Xcel Energy called customers to let them know they can return to normal natural gas usage. The company says gas is once again flowing from one of two pipelines that were shut down following the explosion on Saturday.

"We have lifted the appeal to conserve so our customers can turn their thermostats back to a level that they are used to and we appreciate all of their help," said Liz Wolf Green, Xcel Energy spokesperson.

Xcel Energy says more than 46,000 customers were asked to conserve natural gas following the explosion.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Xcel Energy is lifting the gas conservation request for Western Wisconsin Monday afternoon.

Liz Wolf Green with Xcel Energy in Eau Claire says customers can expect another call from the company telling them they can resume normal usage sometime Monday afternoon. She says the company is grateful to the people who conserved energy because it made a difference. The company says its system was stable overnight. It can now see natural gas flows are increasing from the Transcanada Pipeline into its pipeline service provider.

On Monday afternoon, Midwest Natural Gas lifted its conservation appeals as well. The company says its natural gas is back to normal operations. We Energies has also lifted its natural gas conservation request for customers in northwest Wisconsin. It says extreme cold Monday night and Tuesday will continue to challenge the system, but that it expects to be able to meet demand.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (RELEASE FROM XCEL ENERGY)--UPDATE: 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.


EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (RELEASE FROM XCEL ENERGY)--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.

If this progress continues as we projected late yesterday, we expect to lift the conservation request later today. We want to see Viking stabilize and approach a more normal operation as well as ensure the stability of our system this morning. Then we believe we can handle an increase in demand on the system.

We truly appreciate our customers’ continuing conservation efforts. We expect to provide an update later this morning.

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