Xcel declares energy alert

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Fuzzy Padilla, left, and Joe Barnett of Xcel Energy put a pole extender in place Wednesday on Norris and 14th streets.

CNJ staff

Unexpected problems had Xcel Energy declaring an energy alert Wednesday in its Texas and New Mexico service territory, urging customers to cut back their use of electricity.

Wes Reeves, a spokesman for Xcel, said the recent heat is only part of the reason for high energy demand.

“It is, but we also have some maintenance on power generators we didn’t expect to have to do this week,” Reeves said. “We’re not able to bring all of our generators to bear. We could be really close to dipping into our reserves. “

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.

The company suggests:

• 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.

If energy demand exhausts Xcel’s ability to produce, Reeves said there will be outages of roughly 30 minutes to an hour at a pre-selected group of locations. The outage would take place too quickly, Reeves said, for the company to alert individuals.

“If everything holds the way we hope, we won’t have to do that,” Reeves said, “but we want to be prepared.”