Xcel Energy urging electricity conservation, more outages likely

Local News

This is a press release from Xcel Energy.

AMARILLO, Texas (Feb. 15, 2021) – Additional curtailment of natural gas to regional power plants is setting up another possible round of controlled outages in Xcel Energy’s Texas-New Mexico service area into the morning hours on Tuesday.

Xcel Energy and the electric cooperatives* in the Texas South Plains, Texas Panhandle and eastern and southeastern New Mexico regions, along with municipal systems such as Lubbock Power & Light, have extended appeals to area electric customers to back off their use of electricity to help avoid further disruptions.

Extreme cold weather has created energy deficiencies not only on Xcel Energy’s regional system but in the Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) region as well. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. SPP and Xcel Energy declare an Energy Alert only when a reduction in electricity use is urgently needed to maintain the continuity of the electricity system and service to customers.

“We are watching the situation very closely but believe it’s likely SPP will direct Xcel Energy to initiate controlled outages based on current and anticipated system conditions,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “We will have a clearer picture of the situation in the morning but want area customers to be prepared for an additional round of controlled outages that would be initiated to maintain the continuity of the system.”

Hudson said natural gas production is off because of the extreme cold, and supplies are freezing up in the wellfields, limiting the amount of gas that can be delivered over pipelines to power plants across the region and beyond. This is occurring across multiple states, including all of Texas.

Controlled outages last between 30 minutes to an hour and are spread over the entire footprint of the company’s Texas-New Mexico area in order to minimize disruptions. As the controlled outage is cycled, a different group of customers will be interrupted in the subsequent set.

Suggestions on how customers can reduce electric load to help stretch limited power supplies include:

  • Set thermostats to 68 degrees or lower.
  • Open drapes and blinds to maximize heat from direct sunlight. Otherwise, close them to insulate warm air inside from the cold windowpanes.
  • Run ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to push warm air down from the ceiling, adding comfort and savings.
  • Keep interior doors open to help circulate air more freely and maintain constant heating levels.
  • Suspend use of electrical appliances (dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners, etc.).
  • Put off tasks at work, if possible, that would demand electricity (power tools, maintenance equipment, etc.).
  • Turn off televisions and electronic equipment unless they are necessary to conduct business or to ensure your health and safety.
  • Limit the opening and reopening of refrigerators, which are major users of electricity in most homes.
  • Turn off unnecessary lighting, leaving on only enough to move about safely indoors.

Xcel Energy indicates that, if customers do not reduce their use, electricity demand may exceed the amount of electricity the company will be able to supply. Failure to reduce electricity demand could result in controlled electric service interruptions within the region.

* Electric cooperatives in the Texas South Plains, Texas Panhandle and eastern and southeastern New Mexico regions include:

  • Bailey County Electric Cooperative Association (Texas)
  • Big Country Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Deaf Smith Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Greenbelt Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Lamb County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Lighthouse Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Lyntegar Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • North Plains Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Rita Blanca Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • South Plains Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Swisher Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Central Valley Electric Cooperative (New Mexico)
  • Farmers Electric Cooperative (New Mexico)
  • Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative (New Mexico)
  • Lea County Electric Cooperative (New Mexico)

This is a press release from Xcel Energy.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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