UNDATED -- Xcel Energy is asking its Minnesota natural gas customers to temporarily lower their thermostats until Thursday morning so all its customers statewide can continue having gas service during the bitter cold.

Utility spokesman John Marshall says about 150 customers in Princeton lost heat as temperatures dipped into the negative 20 range Tuesday night. Marshall says the cold weather is increasing natural gas consumption and taxing the equipment.

Marshall says Xcel workers are doing door-to-door with local law enforcement to check on those affected. Some spent the night in a hotel. Xcel says the gas is expected to be restored in the Princeton area Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis-based utility is asking its Minnesota customers to lower their thermostats to 63 through Thursday morning to help conserve natural gas.

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