Xcel Urging to Conserve or Black-outs are Likely

The region's largest power provider is asking customers to keep the lights off and limit using the air conditioner.

For the past week customers have been using nearly as much power as Xcel can produce.

And now this weekend, the company says it needs your help to make sure everyone can continue to have power.

One of Xcel Energy's coal power plants outside of Muleshoe and it has been shut down this weekend for repairs.

The plant can produce 560 mega watts, enough to power nearly half a million homes.

The Tolk Station's closure is putting a strain on Xcel's capacity.

"Last tuesday we had a record peak of 5500 mega watts and we haven't hit that peak again but we've been above 5000 all week and even on the weekends," said Wes Reeves, the Xcel Energy Spokesman.

The station is expected to be out of commission through tomorrow.

The company is urging people to conserve until the end of the weekend so they don't have to take drastic measures.

"Controlled outage is basically a way to protect everyone and protect the system if we wound up in a situation where we have more demand than we do power, we would block some customers, about 50 mega watt blocks of customers for up to an hour a piece," Reeves said.

Xcel has never conducted controlled outages.

But they could affect up to 37,500 homes per hour.

"We would rather see customers use less power than to have to build another power plant. It's much easier and much cheaper if customers would use less power," Reeves said.

Xcel's asking customers to turn off lights, limit using air conditioning, and shut off unused electronics like tv's, and computers to help conserve.