AMARILLO, Texas — Xcel Energy is reminding its customers they can apply for energy assistance or establish payment arrangements when it comes to higher energy bills in the winter.

“The subzero temperatures many of us experienced in December led to higher energy use across the area,” said Adrian J. Rodriguez, president, Xcel Energy – Texas & New Mexico in a press release. “Bills go up when we use more electricity, and many customers may find it difficult to cover these higher costs. We want to assure our customers that we offer flexible options for staying current on their bills.”

State-specific energy assistance programs are available at xcelenergy.com/energyassistance.

Xcel Energy said it encourages customers to contact a customer agent by phone if they’re having trouble paying their bills.

“The company’s automated phone system offers pay arrangement options, which allow customers to divide their balance into installments to be paid over time. These plans vary according to individual circumstances, but most are from three to six months,” the press release said.

Customers wishing to discuss pay arrangement options can call 1-800-895-4999 Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Meanwhile, here are some steps Xcel Energy shared that customers can take to save during the winter months:

  • Access energy saving tips and details of programs and offers at xcelenergy.com.
  • Lower the thermostat a few degrees, ideally to 68 degrees or lower
  • Install a smart thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when away from home or during overnight hours
  • During daylight hours, open drapes and blinds to maximize heat from direct sunlight. To retain heat, keep them closed when it is dark
  • 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