Xcel asks some customers to cut natural gas usage

Xcel Energy is telling about 100,000 of its natural gas customers in northwestern Minnesota, eastern North Dakota, and western Wisconsin to conserve energy following a pipeline explosion in Manitoba.

The explosion may have damaged two other TransCanada pipelines, and those were also taken out of service to be examined.

Xcel is asking home and business customers to conserve natural gas by turning their thermostats down to 60 degrees and avoiding the use of gas appliances.

The company said it's able to serve customers in the Fargo-Moorhead and Brainerd areas as well as west central Wisconsin using other pipelines that bring in natural gas from Michigan and the Twin Cities.

Because of the extremely cold weather, even customers outside the communities most affected should conserve natural gas, Xcel's Vice President Kent Larson said in a statement.

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