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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Xcel Energy is asking customers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin to reduce their natural gas usage because of a pipeline rupture in Canada.

The Minneapolis-based company is asking residential customers who use natural gas to heat their homes to turn their thermostats down to 60 and avoid using natural gas appliances.

Businesses that use natural gas also are asked to conserve.

While the primary area for conservation is Grand Forks, Brainerd and Western Wisconsin, customers in the Metro can help, too.

"If customers in the Twin Cities can reduce temperatures in their homes that helps us support the entire system," said Kent Larson, Xcel Energy's Sr. Vice President of Operations. "Space heaters or a few extra layers will help."

Ruptured lines are "very rare" says Larson. He admits the timing isn't great.

"It's going to be very cold," he says. "In my 32 years, I can't remember something like this."

The impacted lines provide the main supply of natural gas to more than 100,000 Xcel Energy customers.

Xcel Energy officials will alert the public when the situation is resolved.

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