AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Following a reassurance from Xcel Energy that the power regional power grid for the High Plains is ready for upcoming winter weather, Atmos Energy released safety and conservation-oriented tips for customers to help manage power use, prevent possible injuries, and minimize costs.

Xcel Energy reported previously that steps have been taken to winterize local power plants and improve the grid’s durability in the face of drastic weather. Meanwhile, Atmos Energy advised that it is “closely monitoring the weather” and staging employees across the power system to prepare for possible needed responses.

While Atmos advised that customers should stay alert to weather conditions in their area, a few tips focused on safety included:

  • Never use an oven or gas stovetop to heat a home;
  • Protect natural gas meters by removing ice and snow with a broom or brush;
  • Remove snow from vents or dryers and other natural gas equipment;
  • Leave faucets trickling and cabinet doors open to help prevent frozen pipes;
  • If a person smells gas, they should leave the area immediately and call 911 and the Atmos Energy emergency number (866-322-8667) from a safe distance.

Regarding energy conservation, Atmos Energy suggested that customers:

  • Save energy by lowering thermostats to at least 68 degrees, and 58 degrees when away from home;
  • Lower water heater temperatures to 120 degrees, or set the temperature dial to ‘normal’ or ‘medium’;
  • Keep fireplace dampers closed unless a fire is burning;
  • Change furnace filters once a month during the winter;
  • Unplug electronic devices and turn off lights that are not in use;
  • Make sure air registers and vents are not blocked by furniture or equipment;
  • Hire qualified professionals to conduct regular maintenance and filter replacements on HVAC systems;
  • Weatherize buildings by sealing gaps and cracks in windows, doors, walls, and roof penetrations with caulk or weatherstripping.

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