Media Release, Xcel Energy:
Xcel Energy is primed to supply enough electricity to more than meet peak electricity demand this winter in the Texas and New Mexico communities it serves and is encouraging customers to take advantage of tools and information to manage winter power bills while staying comfortable through the coldest months.
“From an operational and planning standpoint, we are in a strong position to meet electricity demand this
winter in Texas and New Mexico,” said Adrian J. Rodriguez, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas.
“We continue to invest in our generating fleet to ensure reliable and affordable energy production, and new and upgraded substations and lines have boosted our ability to deliver electricity where it’s needed,” Rodriguez said, “especially in areas where economic growth has increased demand.” Xcel Energy power plants have been readied for cold weather and the company has increased its power import capabilities over the past decade, taking advantage of its connections with the Southwest Power Pool to ensure enough power will be available to meet the expected demand.
Xcel Energy’s Texas service area is not part of the ERCOT grid that serves many downstate Texas electricity customers. Likewise, the eastern and southeastern areas of New Mexico that are part of Xcel Energy’s system are separate from the Western Electricity Coordinating Council grid that serves large
portions of New Mexico.
Customers can prepare for colder temperatures by taking steps to use electricity more efficiently, efforts that require minimal to no cost but can save money on monthly bills. Among those steps are:
• Opening blinds to take advantage of the sun’s warmth during the day and closing them at night to
insulate against the cold air outside.
• Setting thermostats between 65-70 degrees when the home is occupied, and 58 degrees when
no one is at home. A smart thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature based on routines
and can save on heating costs.
• Running ceiling fans clockwise during colder months so warm air near the ceiling is forced down.
• Keeping the oven door closed when cooking by using an oven light or timer to check progress. Each time the door is opened, even for just a few seconds, the temperature drops 25 degrees. Also, putting lids on pots and pans to speed up cooking time.
• Scheduling a no-cost home efficiency evaluation through an approved contractor working with Xcel Energy’s Home Energy Services program. Information can be found on the Energy Efficiency Services page at xcelenergy.com.
• Sealing gaps around doors and windows with weather stripping.
• Lowering the water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees and wrapping it in insulation, saving 3-5% on water heating costs.
• Changing filters on home heating systems every month to reduce heating costs by 5-15%.
• Improving insulation in walls, crawl spaces, floors, and heating ducts – one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy costs – for a savings of up to 10% on monthly energy bills.
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 vice president 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 available 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.