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Some People Can Turn Their Heat Back Up - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Some People Can Turn Their Heat Back Up

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UPDATE: 1/27/14 11:30 AM:

Xcel Energy says customers in North Dakota and Minnesota can immediately begin dialing their thermostats back up and using natural gas appliances.

Xcel says progress is continuing Monday 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 most 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.

UPDATE: 1/27/2014 9:30 AM:

For Xcel Customers:

Xcel Energy's 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. 

For Great Plains Natural Gas customers:

Great Plains Natural Gas Co. residential and commercial natural gas customers can return to normal usage immediately. Interruptible customers will be notified by telephone as to when they can resume normal usage.

Great Plains encourages customers to spread the word and check on neighbors and the elderly to ensure all customers are aware they can resume normal usage.

A rupture occurred on a Canadian natural gas transmission line that supplies gas to the Viking Gas Transmission Company, which serves Great Plains customers in Crookston, Vergas, Pelican Rapids, Fergus Falls and Breckenridge, Minn., as well as Wahpeton, N.D.

"We want to thank our customers for responding to our request to curtail usage over the weekend," said Frank Morehouse, president and CEO of Great Plains. "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."

ORIGINAL STORY

Hundreds of thousands of people are being asked to turn down their heat and to avoid using natural gas appliances all together tonight. An explosion of a TransCanada pipeline has put North Dakotans, Minnesotans, and even folks in Wisconsin all in the same predicament. Valley News team's Eric Crest breaks down the cold hard facts affecting Xcel Energy, Minnesota Energy Resources and the Great Plains Natural Gas Company that many of us rely on when it gets this cold.

Early Saturday morning this was the scene in Manitoba, Canada. Explosions could be seen lighting up the morning sky. Explosions followed one after another leaving many wondering what was happening.

"no idea what that huge explosion is," says one amateur videographer who captured the moment on his phone.

That explosion at the TransCanada pipeline is having it's impacts felt across most of the valley and much of the Midwest. Natural gas energy suppliers who depend on the pipeline are trying to get the word out now.

"At church this morning I heard someone say we're supposed to turn it down to 60 degrees. I said what's going on? And they mentioned the break in the natural gas line and we're supposed to conserve to reduce stress on the system," says Fargo resident Kent Hannestad.

Many got a call early Sunday morning from their energy supplier telling them to turn down their thermostats down to 60 degrees and to avoid using all natural gas appliances in an effort to conserve the limited resource. But for some, that's just not going to happen.

"It told us to turn it down to 60 degrees. I have four kids in my house. I can't do that," says Missy Hansen of Fargo.

But others in our region can manage the cooler temps for the time being.

"We put some extra blankets on the bed. I was comfortable all night till this morning. I got out and I went all right, I have to bundle up a bit more," says Kent Carlson of Fargo.

"It's really a small price to pay cause we can get blankets and warm up in the house. Get a sweatshirt on. We'll make it just fine. If we can help relieve some stress that's what we should do," says Hannestad.

So stay warm, or at least warm enough. Until local energy companies figure out how to get the priceless commodity, at least this time of year, back into our homes at a degree we're all comfortable with.

"I hope they fix it," says Hansen.

Once again that's Xcel Energy, Minnesota Energy Resources, and the Great Plains Natural Gas Company that are asking folks to turn down their thermostats to 60 degrees tonight. We spoke with Minnesota Energy Resources officials this afternoon and they say by early afternoon one of the three pipelines that were damaged should be repaired and flowing once again. But they hope people will scale back on appliances that utilize natural gas in case things go as planned.

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