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Thousands affected by power outages in metro

As of 5 a.m., more than 1,600 customers were still without power, according to the Xcel Energy outage map.

MINNEAPOLIS — Thousands of people experienced power outages in the metro on Tuesday night due to the extreme cold.

The outages affected nearly 7,000 Xcel customers, mostly in the southern and western suburbs.

Xcel Energy told KARE 11 that the problem stemmed from an equipment error on their part, caused by the wind and the cold disrupting the wires.

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By 5 a.m., more than 1,600 customers were without power in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

"We know it’s extremely cold and sincerely appreciate our customers’ patience as our crews work to get the lights back on," said Matt Lindstrom with Xcel Energy. 

Xcel brought in additional staff to help speed up the process and restore power to customers, Lindstrom said. 

RELATED: Check the Xcel Energy outage map

If you're experiencing an outage, there are several ways you can report it to Xcel:

  • Text OUT to 98936 or text STAT to check the status of your outage
  • Report it through the Xcel Energy mobile app
  • Report it online at xcelenergy.com/out
  • Call 1-800-895-1999 and follow the prompts

It's not uncommon for ice and snow to cause power outages, and there are several ways to keep your family safe if you experience one during cold weather. 

First, make sure to clear snow and ice from natural gas meters. If they are blocked, it can be difficult to tell if natural gas is building up indoors due to blocked vents.

Also, we all know it's important to have a winter emergency kit in your car, but don't forget to build one for home, too. It should include things like flashlights, batteries, back up phone chargers, a non-electric alarm clock, a first aid kit and bottled water and snacks. 

More from KARE 11:

Travelers get a rude awakening as they land in the Twin Cities

Missing dachshund returns home after 3 weeks in the cold

Firefighters face challenges in -30 temps

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