Xcel Energy initiates controlled power outages


AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Xcel Energy, area municipals and co-ops have declared an energy emergency.

In response to this, Xcel Energy continues to urge their customers to conserve energy.

However, earlier this afternoon the company had to take things a step further and initiate controlled power outages.

Today, on February 15th, from 12:45pm to 1:11pm was the first and so far only round of controlled power outages.

Wes Reeves, Xcel Energy Spokesman for Texas and New Mexico, explained that these directions came from the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). Additionally, this came with the reminder that Xcel is a part of a wider power market.

After initiating this first round for approximately 30 minutes, Xcel Energy was then told to hold off.

Reeves said they had these outages occur all over their Texas and New Mexico service areas. That includes everywhere in the Texas Panhandle, except the Southeast region. Additionally, their service areas extend out to Carlsbad, New Mexico.

“So since that time, we’re back down a level. There’s kind of three levels. There’s just a basic conservation level and then the second level is what we call a hard appeal. It’s like something’s going to happen if we don’t do something now,” explained Reeves. Finally, that third level is reached when, like today, controlled outages become necessary.

Reeves shared that the idea behind the controlled outages is to keep the system in balance and prevent the major catastrophe of having the whole system come down.

While Xcel Energy is holding off on further controlled outages for now, Reeves stated that this is a very fluid situation and this could change. For the latest updates on controlled outages and to view their latest statement, click here.

In a press release by Xcel Energy tonight, the company stated “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.”

Additionally Xcel Energy provided suggestions on how customers can reduce the electric load to help stretch limited power supplies. Those suggestions 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.

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