AMARILLO (KSMX)- July’s extreme heat has likely led to higher bills for Xcel Energy’s customers in Texas and New Mexico, and the company is urging customers to get in touch with customer agents to discuss options if they’re concerned about having funds to cover summer electricity costs.
“Our electricity prices have fallen since last summer, but overall customer bills may wind up being higher in the summer months because we all used so much more power to stay cool when the temperatures hit triple digits for days on end,” said Brad Baldridge, Xcel Energy director for Customer and Community Relations in Texas and New Mexico. “We want to work with customers who are concerned they may not have the funds to pay their bills in full, and we’d rather work something out now before customers fall further behind.”
Triple-digit temperatures in July kept air conditioners running overtime, increasing the amount of electricity customers purchased and driving bills higher. Air conditioning units use a lot of electricity to remove heat from home or business interiors. The more outside heat there is, the longer the air conditioners run to keep the inside temperature at the desired setting.
Xcel Energy understands that customers may not have budgeted for the additional power they needed to keep cool, so the company offers payment arrangements on a case-by-case basis, allowing customers to pay over time. These extensions vary according to individual circumstances, but most are from three to six months.
For customers facing loss of income or other hardships that prevent them from making payments, Xcel Energy’s personal account representatives can assist in connecting them with agencies in their area that offer help with utility bills. Most communities have long-established funds through local charities that can often help with utility payments, food and rental assistance. Newer funds have been set up across the area to help families affected by COVID-19 and the economic hardships it has brought.
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.