Likely more outages in Tx Panhandle, South Plains, Eastern N.M.

Likely more outages in Tx Panhandle, South
Updated: Feb. 15, 2021 at 9:38 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Xcel Energy and the electric cooperatives in the Texas Panhandle, South Plains and eastern and southeastern New Mexico are setting up another possible round of controlled outages into the morning hours of Tuesday.

The cooperatives are urging customers to cut back on their use of electricity.

Additionally, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the conservation of electric and natural gas energy.

The companies declare an Energy Alert only when a reduction in electricity use is urgently needed to maintain the continuity of the electricity system and service to customers.

“We are watching the situation very closely but believe it’s likely SPP will direct Xcel Energy to initiate controlled outages based on current and anticipated system conditions,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas. “We will have a clearer picture of the situation in the morning but want area customers to be prepared for an additional round of controlled outages that would be initiated to maintain the continuity of the system.”

Hudson said natural gas production is off because of the extreme cold, and supplies are freezing up in the wellfields, limiting the amount of gas that can be delivered over pipelines to power plants across the region and beyond.

This is occurring across multiple states, including all of Texas.

Controlled outages last between 30 minutes to an hour and are spread over the entire footprint of the company’s Texas-New Mexico area in order to minimize disruptions.

As the controlled outage is cycled, a different group of customers will be interrupted in the following set.

Suggestions on how reduce electric load include:

  • Set thermostats to 68 degrees or lower.
  • Suspend use of electrical appliances (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.
  • Limit the opening and reopening of refrigerators, which are major users of electricity in most homes.
  • Turn off unnecessary lighting, leaving on only enough to move about safely indoors.

Xcel says if customers do not reduce their use, electricity demand may exceed the amount of electricity the company will be able to supply. This could result in controlled electric service interruptions within the region.

Electric cooperatives in the Texas South Plains, Texas Panhandle and eastern and southeastern New Mexico regions include:

  • Bailey County Electric Cooperative Association (Texas)
  • Big Country Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Deaf Smith Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Greenbelt Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Lamb County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Lighthouse Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Lyntegar Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • North Plains Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Rita Blanca Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • South Plains Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Swisher Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Texas)
  • Central Valley Electric Cooperative (New Mexico)
  • Farmers Electric Cooperative (New Mexico)
  • Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative (New Mexico)
  • Lea County Electric Cooperative (New Mexico)

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

  • Bringing online as many power plant 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.

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

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