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Xcel customers conserving electricity

Xcel Energy saw a "noticeable reduction in electricity consumption" today in Grand Forks after the company lost one of two substations serving the city and asked residents to conserve electricity and water.

Xcel Energy saw a "noticeable reduction in electricity consumption" today in Grand Forks after the company lost one of two substations serving the city and asked residents to conserve electricity and water.

Some 6,700 customers lost electric service overnight, cutting off heaters and furnaces as the temperature fell to 20 below. Some customers didn't get power back until midmorning.

The company is thanking customers for their conservation efforts and asking them to keep conserving until morning. The company is in the process of hooking up a mobile transformer from the Twin Cities and, in the meantime, is serving the whole city from the one remaining Grand Forks substation.

Xcel crews will work through the night to repair the transformers, and the system should be at full capacity by morning, said Mark Nisbet, North Dakota principal manager. The company is monitoring equipment to prevent it from being overloaded, he said.

All Grand Forks customers should have electric service by now, according to Xcel. Anyone remaining without service should call (800) 895-1999.

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Here are some ways to help conserve electricity:

-- Use only necessary lights and turn them off when you leave a room.

-- Turn off television sets and computers.

-- Use fewer electrical appliances whenever possible.

-- Set your electric heating system's setting down a few degrees.

-- Delay washing clothes and using your dishwasher.

-- Consider serving cold sandwiches or a salad for supper.

Businesses and institutions can help by turning off overhead lights in buildings and working by task lights only and turning off heat pumps or turning down electric heat.

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Customers on the company's Electric Reduction Savings programs were contacted this morning to control their energy use.

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