AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As storm season approaches, Xcel Energy is reminding Texas and New Mexico residents on how to prepare for possible electricity outages, according to a news release from Xcel Energy.
“We continue to strengthen the power grid that serves our area to make it more resilient in the face of high winds and lightning, but outages do happen. Now is a good time for customers to think about how they will manage if a storm disrupts their power service,” said Brad Baldridge, director of Customer and Community Relations for Xcel Energy in New Mexico and Texas.
According to the release, individuals can find an outage map at xcelenergy.com which will provide information on where outages are happening, how many customers are being affected, and when the power is expected to come back on.
Customers are also able to sign up using the “My Account” feature to report outages online and receive email, text or voice messages, and continuous updates with the same features available on the free Xcel Energy app that can be downloaded from Apple Store or Google Play. The app will also show past information about outages and provide a secure payment portal, Xcel Energy explained.
“Our customers want convenient ways to communicate with us, and they like the freedom of servicing their accounts from anywhere,” Baldridge said. “Our electronic customer service tools have improved the customer experience significantly, and we hope to make these features better every year.”
Customers can call an Xcel Energy customer agent at 1-800-895-1999 to report outages or lines that are down, according to Xcel, and while outages can be restored within a couple of hours, severe weather can interfere services for an extended period of time, according to the release.
Xcel Energy detailed a list of events that are uncommon but customers can still be prepared by doing the following:
- Having an evacuation plan in the event of long-term outages, especially if caring for disable family members or small children.
- Stockpiling nonperishable food items and bottled water.
- Checking batteries in flashlights.
The release explained that outages caused by spring storms can also be dangerous to Xcel Energy employees and the public, therefore, customers should always assume an electric line, even one that is on or near the ground, is active and dangerous.
Also, Xcel Energy states that an individual should never touch or move a powerline that is down because trained professionals are available with proper safety equipment that will secure any dangerous facilities.
After a storm, Xcel said that customers need to check for damage to the “electric service mast” to their house because the mast and meter box are customer-owned facilities and a licensed electrician has to repair any damage before restoration if possible.
Xcel Energy said that professionals are prepared to assist with any storm damage and outages and the company stages employees and supplies in key locations ahead of storms with hundreds of millions of dollars invested in power systems to provide options to reroute power on the expanded network.
According to the release, Xcel Energy crews are available for widespread outages caused by any storms and they will first address large feeder lines and then move onto the restoration of tap lines, transformers, and individual service lines.
“Safety has to be the top priority, and once we’ve established a safe zone in which to operate, we can
move very quickly to restore power,” Baldridge said.
For more information on storm restoration you can visit xcelenergy.com
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