AMARILLO, Texas (May 19, 2021) – As the region approaches its peak storm season, Xcel Energy is reminding Texas and New Mexico customers how to prepare for possible electricity outages.
“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.
Xcel Energy provides customers several ways to communicate with the company during outage events. An outage map is available at xcelenergy.com that shows where outages are occurring, how many customers are affected and when power is expected to be restored. Customers may also sign up for the “My Account” feature to report outages online and receive email, text or voice message updates on power restoration times. These same features are also included on the free Xcel Energy app that can be downloaded from Apple Store or Google Play. Once an online account is set up, the app also shows past electric use information and provides a secure payment portal.
“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 may also call an Xcel Energy customer agent at 1-800-895-1999 to report outages or downed lines.
While most outages are restored within a couple of hours, extreme weather events can disrupt service for extended periods. Though these events are uncommon, customers should still be prepared by:
• Having an evacuation plan in the event of long-term outages, especially if caring for disabled family members or small children.
• Stockpiling nonperishable food items and bottled water.
• Checking batteries in flashlights.
Outages caused by spring storms can also present hazards to Xcel Energy employees and the public. Customers should always assume an electric line, even one that is on or near the ground, is energized and therefore dangerous. Customers should never touch or move a downed power line. Trained professionals with proper safety equipment must secure these damaged high-voltage facilities.
After a storm moves through, customers are also reminded to check for damage to the electric service mast to their home. The mast and meter box are customer-owned facilities, and if damaged, a licensed electrician must make repairs before service can be restored.
Xcel Energy crews are prepared to deal with the worst types of storm damage and outage situations. The company routinely stages employees and supplies in key locations ahead of storms when possible, and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in upgraded power systems to improve reliability and provide more options to reroute power on the expanded network.
In the event of widespread outages caused by storms, Xcel Energy crews will prioritize efforts on large feeder lines in order to restore the largest numbers possible at once, then move to restore tap lines, transformers and individual service lines. More information on storm restoration can be found at this link at xcelenergy.com.
“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.
About Xcel Energy Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.