Xcel Energy lifts all conservation appeals
FARGO – Xcel Energy officials lifted all conservation appeals today as the company’s natural gas system returned to normal operations.
The appeal for customers in western Wisconsin was lifted at noon, while customers in Minnesota and eastern North Dakota began dialing up thermostats late this morning. The company lifted the appeals at intervals to help control demand and ensure safe operations.
The conservation appeals were issued late Saturday, after an explosion early that morning ruptured a TransCanada pipeline in Manitoba, and two nearby pipelines were shut down for inspections. One of the pipelines resumed operations late Sunday.
“The response from our customers, emergency response officials and other local, state and federal officials was most gratifying,” said Kent Larson, Xcel Energy’s senior vice president of operations. “Customers stepped up to conserve, so fortunately no one lost natural gas service due to this event. Had that happened, however, folks were standing by to move quickly to assist our customers.”
While the appeals to residential and business customers to conserve have been 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.