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Winnipeg gas explosion leaves consumers in the cold

Jan. 27, 2014 at 7:26 AM

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Xcel Energy, a utility company in Minnesota, said services should return to full capacity Monday following a natural gas pipeline explosion in Manitoba.

"While this is good news, we still need customers to conserve natural gas," the company said in a statement Sunday. "The system won't be back to normal until the natural gas is delivered to our service territory, and demand remains high due to extremely cold temperatures."

Xcel, which provides services to more than 1.5 million natural gas consumers, called on its consumers to lower the heat settings in their homes to conserve energy in the wake of the weekend explosion.

The National Energy Board, Canada's energy regulator, said it was notified of the incident about 15 miles south of Winnipeg early Saturday.

The energy board said no injuries were reported though homes near the area were evacuated as a precaution.

The energy board said the pipeline is operated by TransCanada Pipeline Inc. and brings gas to U.S. and regional consumers. There was no response from the company regarding the incident.

The regulator said it didn't expect any lasting environmental effects as a result of the incident.

Xcel said it was monitoring the situation closely and would notify its consumers "when the coast is clear."

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