Xcel Energy says it’s working to keep costs down this winter for electricity customers

State & Regional

In this file photo, the Xcel Energy building located in the 4200 block of Frankford Avenue is seen.
(Nexstar Media, Inc./EverythingLubbock.com File Photo)

LUBBOCK, Texas — On Wednesday, Xcel Energy announced measures to reduce the impact of higher natural gas prices used for electricity generation for its customers in the Texas and New Mexico service area.

According to a press release, the company is using a diverse fuel mix to help offset increased prices.

“The cost of natural gas has doubled over the past two years, making electricity more expensive to produce,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “Fortunately, we can hedge against rising prices by leaning on other power generating resources and ensuring we are maximizing the efficiency of power plants that run on natural gas.

Xcel Energy said electricity generated from natural gas-fueled power plants made up 47 percent of the electricity delivered to its Texas-New Mexico customers in 2020. Wind energy accounted for 32% of the 2020 electricity delivered.

The company also offered several tips for customers to save on energy costs this coming winter.

Below is a press release from Xcel Energy New Mexico-Texas.

AMARILLO, Texas (Dec. 1, 2021) – Xcel Energy is taking advantage of its diverse fuel mix to reduce the impact of high natural gas prices this winter and is reminding customers of efficiency and conservation measures they can take to keep winter heating bills under control.

“The cost of natural gas has doubled over the past two years, making electricity more expensive to produce,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “Fortunately, we can hedge against rising prices by leaning on other power generating resources and ensuring we are maximizing the efficiency of power plants that run on natural gas. Our customers can play a key role in holding down costs as well by taking steps to ensure their homes and businesses are using energy efficiently, which has the potential to greatly reduce monthly billing costs.”

Electricity generated from natural gas-fueled power plants made up 47% of the electricity delivered to Texas-New Mexico customers in 2020. Wind energy, which is less expensive than electricity derived from natural gas, accounted for 32% of the 2020 mix. With the addition of New Mexico’s Sagamore Wind Project at the end of 2020, Xcel Energy’s wind resources are projected to provide approximately 40% of the region’s electricity supply this year, helping to offset higher prices for natural gas fuel. Electricity production fueled by natural gas is expected to fall to about a third of the overall 2021 mix.

Additionally, Xcel Energy contracts for natural gas in advance, locking in lower prices that help shield customers from unanticipated market changes that drive up the price. But the most impactful steps to avoid high prices can be taken by customers who have the ultimate control over the amount of electricity they use and how they use it. Among the most important ways customers can save are:

  • Thermostat Adjustments – According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, customers can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling costs by simply turning their thermostats back 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day from normal settings. These adjustments are made easier by installing either a programmable or smart thermostat, both of which allow the customer to schedule thermostat adjustments. A smart thermostat offers the added benefit of allowing adjustments to be made remotely via a mobile app or the internet using a smart phone, tablet, or computer. Energy Star-certified smart thermostats can save up to 8% annually on heating and cooling costs, according to energystar.gov.
  • Energy Proofing – Insulation in walls and attics and weather stripping around doors and windows can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or an average of 11% on total energy costs) according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Many of these products are available at minimal cost at local home improvement stores.
  • Efficient Water Heating and Appliance Use – Customers can save money on water heating by installing low-flow showerheads, replacing aerators on faucets and washing clothes in cold water. Wrapping water heaters in insulation helps hold heat inside the tank, also saving on costs. Additionally, customers can save money by drying clothes on lines or reducing the heat in electric dryers and using the air-dry cycle on automatic dishwashers.
  • Lighting Efficiency – Switching to LEDs greatly reduces the amount customers pay for lighting since LEDs typically use 70 to 90% less energy than traditional bulbs. Xcel Energy has partnered with select retailers across its Texas-New Mexico service area to offer discounts of up to $3 on select Energy Star LED bulbs. Customers can access a listing of these retailers at xcelenergy.com by clicking on Residential Services and scrolling to the Bulb Finder link at the bottom of the page.

Xcel Energy also provides Home Energy Services through approved contractors, at no cost, that help homeowners make their homes more weathertight and cheaper to heat and cool. A listing of these approved contractors and more information on this program can be found at xcelenergyefficiency.com. Commercial customers may also take advantage of rebate programs for lighting efficiency and heating and cooling efficiency upgrades. Information on these rebate programs, along with other efficiency promotions and incentives can be found at xcelenergy.com at Residential Services or Business Services links.

In addition to saving on energy costs, residential customers can enroll in Averaged Monthly Payment (AMP) and Auto Pay programs to make their monthly bills more predictable and easier to manage. AMP is a plan that allows customers to pay an agreed-upon fixed amount each month, which helps average their energy costs over 12 months. Auto Pay allows customers to have their payment automatically deducted from their checking accounts, ensuring payments are always on time. Customers can sign up for AMP and Auto Pay through the Xcel Energy mobile app and through My Account at xcelenergy.com, or by calling Xcel Energy’s Customer Contact Center at (800) 895-4999

About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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