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Xcel, Great Plains Natural Gas customers in Minn. can return to normal settings

FARGO – Customers of Xcel Energy and Great Plains Natural Gas in North Dakota and Minnesota are no longer being asked to reduce their natural gas usage, the companies said Monday.

 Over the weekend, a Canadian pipeline explosion south of Winnipeg prompted both companies to request that customers dial down their thermostats.

 This morning, Xcel announced that customers in North Dakota and Minnesota can immediately raise the temperature on their thermostats and resume using natural gas appliances. An appeal for conservation in western Wisconsin is expected to be lifted about noon 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.”

 Xcel anticipates its system will be returned to full capacity by the afternoon.

 In a statement, Great Plains Natural Gas thanked customers in Crookston, Vergas, Pelican Rapids, Fergus Falls, Breckenridge and Wahpeton for responding to the request to cut natural gas use.

 “The reduced usage by our customers, as well as the customers of the other utilities affected by the supply disruption, played an integral role in maintaining service until operations returned to normal,” Frank Morehouse, Great Plains president and CEO, said in a statement.

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