Media Release, Xcel Energy Media Relations:
Electricity providers in the Southwest Power Pool, including Xcel Energy, expect a spike in demand as extreme heat spreads across the central U.S. this week, prompting Xcel Energy and other member companies to encourage conservation among their customers.
“We have enough power to meet demand with sufficient resources in reserves, but supplies will be tight over a wider area of the Southwest Power Pool this week,” said Adrian J. Rodriguez, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “If we’re aware of how we’re using energy and look for opportunities to cut back, it will help us and our neighbors get by without any issues.”
Xcel Energy’s Texas and New Mexico system is part of the Southwest Power Pool, which oversees the reliability of a transmission network covering all or portions of 14 states and operates a wholesale power market. The SPP marketplace facilitates the sale and purchase of electricity to ensure cost-effective power reliability, in addition to serving as the “balancing authority” responsible for balancing supply and demand – ensuring enough generation is available to reliably supply electricity now and in the future.
Xcel Energy’s service territory in Texas is not part of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the company’s New Mexico communities are separate from the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) grid.
As part of Xcel Energy’s shared responsibility through the Southwest Power Pool, if emergency conditions arise, customers could be asked to reduce energy use. In an extreme situation, controlled power outages could be used to help reduce energy use on the larger regional grid. However, Xcel Energy does not expect controlled outages would be needed at this time. Rodriguez pointed out that customers can reduce energy use and remain comfortable by making simple and low-cost efficiency improvements and adopting energy-saving habits.
Xcel Energy offers tips to beat the heat and save money at its Energy Saving Tips page at xcelenergy.com, which includes tips such as:
• Installing a programmable thermostat that raises the setting when the house is empty and lowers
it to a comfortable level when everyone comes home.
• Using ceiling fans to circulate cool air throughout the home.
• Opening interior doors to improve the circulation of cool air inside.
• Using a whole-house or attic fan to draw in cool nighttime air and push out hot air during the day.
• Changing air conditioner filters and having air conditioner coils cleaned to improve efficiency.
• Closing drapes and blinds during the heat of the day.
Customers can also reduce their overall bills by:
• Turning off lights and electronics when they’re not in use.
• Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs, which use 75%-80% less energy than traditional bulbs
and last 15% longer.
• Running washing machines, clothes dryers and dishwashers with full loads and only after the heat of the day. This helps keeps the house cooler and reduces strain on the electric grid.
• If using well water, checking pumps for leaks and reducing frequency and duration of lawn
Customers can take further steps toward ongoing savings by having their homes tested for air leaks that can make cooling and heating units less efficient and more costly to operate. Authorized energy efficiency contractors perform the testing for Xcel Energy and make energy-saving improvements free of charge. A list of approved contractors can be accessed on the Energy Efficiency Services page at xcelenergy.com.
Customers having difficulty paying their bills should contact Xcel Energy as soon as possible. Xcel Energy offers payment arrangements on a case-by-case basis, allowing customers to pay over time should they need to. “These pay arrangements vary according to individual circumstances, but most are from three to six months, said Canda Henry, Amarillo-based senior director in Xcel Energy’s Customer Care group. “Customers facing loss of income or other hardships that prevent them from making payments can talk with one of our personal account representatives, who can connect them with agencies in their area that offer help with utility bills.”
Personal account representatives will have a listing of appropriate community funds in each town served by Xcel Energy and will help qualified customers apply this funding to outstanding balances. Additionally, agents have been reaching out to customers who have qualified for energy assistance in the past to ensure they are aware of the resources available to them. Customers wishing to visit with Xcel Energy about payment arrangements can call 1-800-895-4999 Monday through Friday or visit the customer support page at xcelenergy.com to learn about options and programs to help manage bills.