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New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez released a statement Friday updating the status of the state's natural gas crisis:
"While we are still dealing with natural gas shortages across the state, the process is underway for restoring supplies and service to affected communities," said Governor Martinez. "Thanks to the generosity of our fellow New Mexicans, only 27 people were forced to stay in emergency shelters statewide last night, even though roughly 32,000 of us were without natural gas service.
"Earlier today, I spoke with officials at the New Mexico Gas Company, who told me natural gas should be restored in the communities of Alamogordo, La Luz, Tularosa, Red River, and Questa by the end of today. They are beginning the process of returning gas supplies to Bernalillo, Placitas, Taos and Espanola and will work through the weekend to restore services to those communities.
"In order to meet this goal, many volunteers from within New Mexico to as far away as Texas and even Michigan have offered to assist gas company technicians as we work to deliver natural gas to affected homes and businesses across the state. Thanks to their willingness to help, we will have over 400 qualified people supplementing the gas company's efforts to shut down meters, inspect and clear fuel lines, restore full pressure, and re-ignite pilot lights in the coming days. This group includes employees from utility companies outside of the state, as well as volunteers from various plumber and pipefitter
unions and fire departments.
"Any New Mexican who does not pass inspection when their natural gas meter is being turned back on can visit the Regulation and Licensing Department's website to find a list of licensed plumbers and contractors who will assess any problems and contact the gas company. I have ordered that the cost of permits for work done by these contractors on affected homes be waived so this cost is not passed on to customers. After an assessment from a licensed professional, the gas company will restore the flow of natural gas and require repairs to be made in subsequent days to bring these homes and businesses up to code.
"Emergency shelters remain open across the state and will continue to serve anyone who is dealing with unbearable temperatures in their homes. A list of these can be found on the Governor's website. I also encourage everyone to continue checking the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management's website for breaking updates and important information. I hope that all New Mexicans continue to stay safe and warm as we work as quickly as possible to resolve these challenges."