Natural gas shortages and below zero temperatures cause power outages for Xcel Energy customers, affecting the Front Range and parts of the Grand Valley as well. Approximately 100-thousand customers, 5,000 in the Grand Junction area alone, were without power for a short time Saturday morning. Xcel Energy reports the rolling blackouts were necessary due to a lack of natural gas that's needed to run about half of the company's energy plants. In Grand Junction, the blackouts began around 10 a.m. Saturday, stretching from 29 Rd. to 31 Rd. and north of I-70B, south to D Rd. Power was restored a half hour later and Xcel representatives say the unexpected cold snap contributed to the reduced flow of natural gas to power plants, triggering the system's self-defense mechanism. Although power has been restored throughout the state, Xcel is still asking customers to conserve energy while this latest blast of cold temperatures are in place.