More than 2,000 still without heat Waverly, Montrose after gas outage

House by house, furnace by furnace, they got their heat back. But, it was a slow, cold wait for hundreds of Xcel Energy customers in Montrose and Waverly, two small towns in Wright County, Minnesota. 

“Our house is at 58 degrees right now,” said Montrose resident Sunshine Mytling. “We have space heaters in our house trying to keep us warm.”

The ironically named Sunshine, bundled in her cold home as an early winter snow fell, was next on the stop of an Xcel Energy technician criss-crossing her street re-lighting furnaces in homes.

“I know, I’m so thankful,” Sunshine told Fox 9 excitedly.

The gas was shut off to 2,300 homes and businesses Tuesday afternoon when a contract construction crew cut a gas line.  Xcel Energy, as a safety precaution, then turned the gas off at each of those customers at their individual gas meters.

Once the severed line was repaired, the process was then reversed beginning at 3 a.m. on Wednesday.  But it was far slower, since this time the technicians also had to go inside to re-light pilot lights on furnaces, water heaters and stoves.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, about 900 customers remained without gas, or about 40 percent of the original outage.

A recorded message that went out told customers to try to have someone at home to let in the technicians and to keep the faucets running to prevent pipes from freezing.

The gas line break coming just as the cold snap set in. 60 technicians were out trying to get everyone back up and running, averaging about six re-lights an hour, hoping to get everyone back up and running as soon as possible. 

We caught Jean Yunker pulling out of her driveway early Wednesday afternoon, headed into work after waiting all morning for her gas to be restored.

“I had one little space heater and I was wearing my gloves and just trying to bide time,” she told Fox 9.  As her house began to warm back up, she was spending the rest of the day at her desk.  “I’m excited to be in my warm car and going to my office which I usually consider cold, but today it will be warm.”