Energy Company Asks Customers To Turn Heat Down After Pipeline Explosion

46,000 Xcel Customers Under Orders To Use Less Natural Gas


About 46,000 natural gas customers in western Wisconsin have been under orders to turn their heat down after a pipeline explosion in Canada.

One of three pipelines that feed natural gas to western Wisconsin exploded in the province of Manitoba this weekend, shutting down the entire system. Those lines feed Xcel Energy, which serves customers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.

Xcel distribution director Julie Simon said the situation was so dire the company called customers late Saturday night urging them to turn down their thermostats to 60 degrees despite the frigid temperatures outside.

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“If people didn’t cut back, there was a possibility and a probability that we could lose our entire gas flow,” said Simon.

Simon said with the help from customers, they were able to keep enough pressure in the system. Xcel spokeswoman Liz Wolf-Green said one of the pipelines is now back up and things are getting back to normal.

“We’ll be calling those customers to let them know that now they can turn their thermostats up to the normal setting that they’re used to and begin again to use their natural gas appliances,” said Wolf-Green.

Xcel Energy said a total of about 100,000 customers were affected by the pipeline explosion.