BUFFALO, NY - National Fuel is asking their residential and small business customers in five WNY counties to turn down their thermostats just as one of the longest stretches of bone-chilling cold continues to have a hold on the area.

A gas delivery issue centered at a facility in Pennsylvania is to blame. Spokesperson Karen Merkel said the request is for customers in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties to dial back the heat by five degrees. She stresses this request is voluntary.

Merkel said if you are elderly or ill you should maintain a temperature in your home that will keep you comfortable and not impact any existing medical conditions.

It's not known how long these measures will be necessary. Merkel says it's hoped with the community's cooperation, gas supplies at a reduced level will continue to flow uninterrupted.

National Fuel has already started the process of notifying its industrial and commercial customers that a voluntary reduction of gas use is now in effect.

"We believe that this system interruption will be short-lived and that with our customers' full cooperation, we will be able to limit this call for reduced usage," said Carl Carlotti, President of National Fuel's Gas Distribution Corporation. " We are continually monitoring the situation and will provide notice when the system is fully operational. System repairs are occurring now to bring it back to full operating potential."