Cascade Natural Gas is asking some 2,500 customers on the west sides of Bend and Redmond to cut back on their usage this weekend just as single-digit temperatures are forecasted. It’s a reaction to a weather-related problem last month that caused dozens of customers to lose service.
“Cascade Natural Gas is asking some customers in west Bend and west Redmond to reduce natural gas usage through Saturday morning, February 25th,” a message sent to the affected customers reads. “We anticipate increased natural gas usage due to forecasted extreme, cold temperatures in the area This may put stress on the natural gas flow, which could affect service.”
Cascade is asking customers to lower their thermostat as much as they can “comfortably manage,” minimize hot water usage and turn off natural gas fireplaces, garage heaters and other non-essential appliances that use natural gas.
Some customers are concerned.
Cascade spokesman Mark Hanson said it’s a pressure issue.
“In that West Bend, West Redmond area, it’s kind of at the end of a system over there. And pressure got low (in January) and we ended up losing some customers in both those areas, About 77 customers overall lost service,” he said. “And so with the forecasted temperatures tonight, Friday night being back down in that single digits, we just wanted to be proactive.”
Hanson said a loss of too much pressure means it won’t provide enough service in through a meter. That could prevent pilot lights from operating in a furnace or other appliances.
Hanson said Cascade is confident that no customers will lose service if everyone who was contacted can help out a little over the next couple of days.
He emphasized that this is a short-term issue. Cascade is planning to update the pipeline this spring and summer to provide more capacity so this doesn’t happen next winter.
Hanson said this kind of thing is rare. He doesn’t recall a weather-related request like this in the last 20 years.