Xcel begins restoring natural gas to residents near Princeton

Published 7:34 am Friday, February 1, 2019

By Elizabeth Dunbar

MPR News/90.1 FM

Crews are starting to reconnect Xcel Energy natural gas customers in the Princeton area who lost service during the extreme cold.

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Xcel said in a news release Thursday that gas technicians are contacting customers, so the company can turn on their meters and relight their pilot lights in Baldwin Township, just south of Princeton in Sherburne County, Minn.

The area affected is at the tail end of a distribution system, and Xcel officials said because homes and businesses ahead of it in the system were using so much natural gas during the cold weather that the gas pressure dropped. The utility said it cut off a small number of its customers — on Wednesday, that number was about 150 — to prevent more from losing gas service.

It also asked all of its natural gas customers across the state to turn down their thermostats.

The company said that action, plus warming temperatures into Thursday, prevented further outages. Customers, the company said, can now turn their thermostats back up.

“Our customers throughout the state answered the call when we asked them to help. For that, we are grateful,” Xcel’s Midwest president, Chris Clark, said in the release.

Natural gas customers getting service from CenterPoint Energy and other utilities in the state were not affected by the service disruption.