Xcel Energy prepared for summer’s high power demand

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AMARILLO, Texas (May 18, 2022) – Xcel Energy’s Texas and New Mexico system is in good shape to supply enough electricity to meet summer demand and is backed up by strong connections to the Southwest Power Pool and its ample power generating capacity.

“We’re wrapping up spring maintenance projects at our regional power plants and expect to have all our resources available during peak times of electricity demand,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “Additionally, we’ve invested heavily in new and upgraded substations and lines across the area to ensure power is flowing freely, especially in areas that have seen a lot of growth.”

Xcel Energy’s Texas-New Mexico system is part of the Southwest Power Pool, which oversees the reliability of a multistate transmission network and operates a wholesale power market. A decade’s worth of investment in new transmission connections within the regional service area and to other SPP members has allowed Xcel Energy to tap into abundant power supplies that supplement a large amount of generating capacity located within the region, Hudson said.

Xcel Energy is not connected to the Texas grid operated by ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Recent news about Texas power plants coming offline unexpectedly for maintenance during a recent heat wave involved plants operating in other parts of Texas, not within the Xcel Energy or SPP footprint.

“Our Texas customers may hear reports of potential power shortages downstate, but it’s important to remember these reports are discussing conditions outside of the Xcel Energy service area,” Hudson said. “We aren’t immune from the effects of high heat or unplanned maintenance issues, but from an operational and planning standpoint, we are in a strong position in the areas of the Panhandle and South Plains we serve.”

Xcel Energy is regulated differently than power providers in downstate Texas and must show it has enough capacity to meet expected peak demands and still have at least a 12% reserve. The company has met that requirement with room to spare going into the summer months, Hudson said. Xcel Energy owns and operates seven conventional power plants in its Texas-New Mexico region and two large wind energy facilities. The company also has long-term power purchase contracts with other regional power generators and has quadrupled its transmission import capabilities over the past decade.

Hudson also pointed out that the company has invested heavily in local distribution systems to ensure power flows freely in local neighborhoods on hot days. Ongoing projects to standardize the voltages in area communities ensure that if heat-related outages do occur, crews can quickly reroute power to minimize disruptions.

“It’s an ongoing effort to keep our system at peak readiness and to ensure we have the capacity to grow,” Hudson said.

Additional detail on Xcel Energy’s grid investments in its Texas and New Mexico region can be found at Our Energy Future Southwest at xcelenergy.com.

We are not a part of ERCOT. Keys to know:

• ERCOT is often referred to as the “Texas power grid” even though it does not cover the entire state.

• Large state and national media outlets aren’t typically including energy providers in the Texas Panhandle and South Plains when referring to the “Texas power grid.”

• Generators in ERCOT sell into the wholesale marketplace. Retailers purchase that electricity, and customers choose which retailer they would like to purchase electricity from.
• Texas is served by four separate power grids: ERCOT serves major population centers and the bulk of Texas; Midcontinent Independent System Operator reaches into southeast Texas; the Western Electricity Coordinating Council serves the southwest tip of Texas (El Paso area); and the Southwest Power Pool serves Xcel Energy in the Texas South Plains and Panhandle (and Xcel Energy’s New Mexico region is also served by SPP)

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