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We Energies says natural gas back to levels where customers can resume normal use

Update: We Energies said Saturday morning that the amount of natural gas being delivered by interstate pipelines into Wisconsin is back to levels that should meet the needs of all customers, so the company no longer is asking customers to reduce their natural gas use.

We Energies spokesperson Brendan Conway said in a statement that because customers complied with its request Friday evening to lower thermostats to 62 or below, no customer lost the ability to heat their home.

“We truly appreciate our customers’ understanding throughout this event,” Conway said.

Amid sub-zero temperatures, more than one million We Energies customers across Wisconsin are being asked to conserve natural gas because of a pipeline malfunction

We Energies asked its customers to immediately turn their thermostats to 62 degrees or lower Friday evening to prevent a widespread service outage.

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Guardian Pipeline notified customers Friday that it had constrained the northbound flow of gas on one of its interstate pipelines due to unplanned maintenance at a compressor station in Illinois.

We Energies spokesperson Brendan Conway said Guardian had cut the utility’s gas supply by 30%.

Conway said the utility is drawing from liquified gas and propane storage facilities and has cut gas deliveries to business customers whose contracts allow for service interruptions. But because of the extreme cold gripping most of the nation, the utility is unable to get gas from other pipeline suppliers.

A spokesperson for the pipeline company said one of two malfunctioning valves had been restored as of Friday night and crews were working on the second to restore capacity “in a timely manner.”

We Energies said it would reassess the situation and update customers on Saturday. No update had been provided as of 6 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to turning down thermostats, the company asked residents to avoid using secondary gas heaters, ovens, stoves and clothes dryers.

The National Weather Service was forecasting low temperatures of zero to 14 below across Wisconsin Friday night and highs mostly in the single digits, with much of the state under a wind chill advisory.

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