Amidst record cold weather, National Fuel Gas Gistribution has asked its Western New York customers to turn down the heat five degrees. The Williamsville, N.Y.-based company is having trouble servicing five New York state counties because of a temporary system interruption.
“We believe that this system interruption will be short-lived and that with our customers’ full cooperation, we will be able to limit this call for reduced usage,” said National Fuel’s president Carl Carlotti in a statement. The voluntary usage reduction is “effective immediately and until further notice.”
The service interruption effects both residential and small commercial customers in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties, the western-most area of the state which encompasses the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area and is home to around 1.2 million people. The current temperature in these counties is as low as 5 degrees, though some areas feel as cold as -7 degrees, with the windchill.
National Fuel is asking all its residential and small commercial customers to turn their thermostats down 5 degrees, and keep them there until further notice. The company did note an exception for the elderly or ill.
Forecasters have warned people in the Midwest and Northeast to beware of hypothermia, as an arctic blast has hit the area. Two deaths have been attributed to the extreme cold.
“We are continually monitoring the situation and will provide notice when the system is fully operational,” said Carlotti. “System repairs are occurring now to bring it back to full operating potential.”