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U. of U. cuts heat for a day after natural gas supply fails to arrive

First Published      Last Updated Dec 06 2013 08:10 am

The weather outside is frightful, but for a few hours Thursday evening at the University of Utah it wasn't particularly delightful indoors either.

On Thursday, some buildings on the campus of Utah's flagship university were only heated to between 50 and 60 degrees. Parts of the school also had reduced hot water. Buildings west of the Eccles Broadcast Center were impacted.

The frostier conditions were the result of a reduced natural gas supply.

However, the situation was resolved by about 7:45 p.m. Thursday, according to U. spokeswoman Valoree Dowell. She added that buildings were being re-heated Thursday and indoor temperatures would be back to normal Friday.

Questar spokesman Darren Shepherd said the reduced supply resulted because large customers such as the U. buy their gas on the open market. Those customers contract to have the gas shipped to Questar's system, which then moves it locally.

In the case of the U. and as many as 400 other large-use customers, the privately-purchased natural gas didn't arrive as planned Thursday. Neither Shepherd nor Dowell knew why the gas didn't show up. Shepherd also didn't know how the issue was resolved, though he speculated the supply must have arrived.

Large customers get a better deal on natural gas when they buy it themselves and only use Questar to ship it locally, Shepherd explained.

Shepherd stressed that Questar's residential customers were not affected by the reduced supply for large users.


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