ALBUQUERQUE(KRQE) - When the last big winter storm hit in February, thousands of New Mexico Gas Company customers ended up with no heat. The company was hammered for that. Are they ready this time?
This storm is going to pack a punch, but NM Gas said they are ready to fight back. We haven't seen anything like it, until now.
"We are going to be in the 30's here for highs and that's the coldest we've been since that storm that we saw," News 13 Meteorologist Mark Ronchetti said.
Mark said this new system is a different beast than what we saw in February.
"We are not going to see the prolonged below zero temperatures and we are not likely to see a region wide freeze."
Two crippling factors of the February freeze. NM Gas Company isn't taking any chances.
"We've contracted for additional storage, we have also made some changes to our transmission configurations so we can better access supplies coming into New Mexico," Spokeswoman Monica Hussey said.
The problems during the last storm originated in Texas at the production facilities. NM Gas does not produce natural gas, just delivers it. But, NM Gas shares the pipeline with other delivery companies; some of which took more than their allotment, leaving little to no gas in the pipeline for New Mexico to use.
That forced the gas company to shut off the supply to many northern New Mexico cities, some of which didn't have gas for days leaving thousands of people without heat.
This storm will roll through our state before it gets to Texas, so Mark said we don't have to worry about several states being strained for natural gas at the same time. But that doesn't mean there won't be a lot of people using more heat than normal.
"When you combine the wind, you combine the snow, and you combine what's headed in our direction this is still something that utilities wise will tax the state," said Ronchetti.
To give you an idea how taxed the system was last February, on the coldest day of the storm the demand for natural gas was nearly double the previous record.
If there are any problems this time, the gas company said it will send out a public warning.
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