Xcel Energy Upgrades Energy Alert; Requests Further Reductions in Demand - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/22/08

Xcel Energy Upgrades Energy Alert; Requests Further Reductions in Demand

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Xcel Energy is upgrading an Energy Alert issued on Monday, asking customers to take further steps to reduce electricity demand in light of unplanned maintenance issues at two area power plants and expected high demand due to heat.

The company is asking customers to turn off unnecessary appliances and lights until 7 p.m.

If demand continues to outpace supply, the company could be forced to initiate controlled outages around the Texas-New Mexico region.

Xcel Energy declares an Energy Alert only when a reduction in electricity use is urgently needed to maintain the electricity system and service to customers.

"We are making a public appeal to our customers to turn off lights and appliances unless it would harm their health," said David Eves, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. "For example, elderly people or people who have health concerns should NOT turn off their air conditioners."

Suggestions on how to reduce electric load include:

  • Either turn off air conditioning or increase your thermostat setting to 85 degrees, slowly lowering the setting after 7 p.m. to a more comfortable setting. This does not apply to customers who depend on air conditioning for health reasons.

  • Put off household chores that involve electrical appliances until after 7 p.m. (dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners, etc.)

  • Put off tasks at work, if possible, that would demand electricity (power tools, maintenance equipment, etc.).

  • Turn off televisions and electronic equipment unless they are necessary to conduct business or to ensure your health and safety.

  • Turn off unnecessary lighting, leaving on only enough to move about safely indoors.

Xcel Energy officials declared the Energy Alert only after all other efforts to reduce electricity demand or to increase supply were implemented. Those include:

  • Bringing on line as many power generating units as possible and buying as much electricity as possible from other utilities.

  • Reducing electricity use as much as possible at Xcel Energy power plants and office buildings.

  • Interrupting power to industrial and agricultural customers who signed up for lower interruptible rates.

  • Asking other commercial and industrial customers to curtail their energy use.

The company expects the tight situation to ease this evening and into Wednesday as power plants return to full capacity operations. Even so, customers are advised that electric usage usually peaks at the end of July and in early August, and that reserve margins are still tight. Further conservation will help the company meet its demand, and will save customers money as well.

"We take our responsibility to supply energy to our customers very seriously, and we declared this Energy Alert only after exhausting all other options," Eves said.

"Our customers have helped us through similar situations in the past, and we look to them today to help us maintain the integrity of their electricity system. Turning off all lights and appliances that are not essential to health and safety will help us meet everyone's energy needs without service interruptions. We at Xcel Energy - and your friends and neighbors - thank you."

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